The Golden State Warriors have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent small forward Kevin Durant. The contract will pay Durant $54 million over 2 years, with a player option after the first year. The contract cannot officially be signed until the end of the NBA’s moratorium period on July 7th.
Kevin Durant broke the news himself through The Players’ Tribune on Monday morning.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 4, 2016
Report: Kevin Durant Agrees to Contract with Golden State Warriors
Durant was the most sought-after free agent of the 2016 NBA off-season. Since he was selected second overall by the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) in the 2007 NBA Draft, Durant has improved year after year, both offensively and defensively. He has put together a remarkable resume so far, which includes his much deserved MVP award in the 2013-14 season. He has led the NBA in scoring four times in his career, and will likely will do it again in the future. After coming off of another impressive season, averaging 28.2 points per game, Durant was courted by many teams, including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Miami Heat, but Durant felt that the Golden State Warriors were the best option for him as he goes into the prime of his career. He has shot at least 50% from the field in the last four seasons and also collected a career high 8.2 rebounds per game last year. Something that doesn’t get noticed very much is his improvements on the defensive side of the ball, which has been better year after year. Last season, opponents only made 33% of their shots when Durant contested, which was number one in the league. He also averaged a block and a steal per game for the fifth time in his career.
There is no doubt that the Warriors will be the heavy favorites to win the championship this year; however, they must part ways with key members of their 73-9 team from a year ago in order to clear cap space for Durant. Golden State won’t be able to match the Dallas Mavericks offer sheet to Harrison Barnes, and they have since renounced their rights to Festus Ezeli, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Warriors will likely have to trade or waive Andrew Bogut, too.
The Warriors now have an embarrassment of riches. Stephen Curry and Durant are two of the top three basketball players in the world, and now they will both be playing on the same team. Oh, and the Warriors still have All-Stars Klay Thompsons and Draymond Green, too. The best regular season team in NBA history just added one of the best players in the league.
Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder, who by the way were just two minutes away from defeating Durant’s new team – the Warriors – and advancing to the NBA Finals, will likely ruin his legacy in the city he spent eight years playing for.
Durant has a player option after the first year, which he will likely exercise in order to take advantage of another huge spike in the salary cap that is expected next summer. It will be interesting to see if Durant is committed to Golden State long term, or if this contract is just a short term plan for the superstar forward.