This offseason set one of the biggest moves in NBA history when Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors. With all the hatred received from the daring move, the prestigious small forward has been labeled a coward and a copout. Some sports lovers compare this move to LeBron James’s “The Decision” that signed him with the Miami Heat through free agency. However, they aren’t even in similar stratospheres. Kevin Durant will betray his team and his city for many years to come.
Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder is worse than LeBron leaving Cleveland by leaps and bounds. Durant quit a team that was building around him. Last year in the NBA Western Conference Finals, The Oklahoma City Thunder lost a 3-1 series to the Golden State Warriors. This is primarily due to the eruption of scoring that Klay Thompson relinquished on Kevin Durant’s former team. In order to counter a similar performance from Thompson, the Thunder acquired one of the best defensive guards in the NBA, Victor Oladipo.
The Thunder were planning on building a team to beat the reigning back-to-back Western Conference Champions. However, after losing Kevin Durant, a huge piece of the puzzle is lost for this possible title contending team. LeBron James’s older Cleveland Cavaliers team was unable to build a team around him. Even though James had assistance from a young Mo William, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and a single season with an older Shaquille O’Neal, it was never enough to surpass the other title contending teams in the NBA. The team failed to build around LeBron James and make themselves a legitimate title contender. Because of the lack of organizational skills that the Cavaliers faced, LeBron James ultimately left to chase a championship. Although both both players are in pursuit of championships, Durant left a legitimate title contender that was building for the future.
Kevin Durant’s mentality for this courageous move is, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The Golden State Warriors posed a problem for Kevin Durant’s former team during these NBA playoffs. Being one of the first teams to lose a 3-1 lead in the play offs shows that it would be difficult to beat this Golden State Warriors team. With Durant joining the team he lost to in such a fashion, it appears that he didn’t believe in himself to win.
It is not his leaving Oklahoma City, but his joining of the powerhouse 73-9 Golden State Warriors that stands as the issue at hand for disappointed fans. LeBron James did not jump on a bandwagon of a powerhouse team. He joined a team that eventually would become a powerhouse through free agency and rebuilding. The Big Three (James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh) formed the year LeBron joined the team. However, before the emergence of this dynasty, the Miami Heat were a subpar team. Durant joined an established team that was destined to be great for a while. If he joined another team, he would still be able to compete against the Golden State Warriors for revenge.
This move for Kevin Durant tarnished his career and possible legacy. Durant is a debatably a top 3 player in the world right now. Averaging 28.2 ppg, he is on track to being one of the greatest scorers of all time. His joining of the established Golden State Warriors will put an asterisk on any championship he wins in the Bay Area.
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