Christian Fuentes, sports journalist for Metro Puerto Rico
Well, it took this big time move to get me to post during vacation time (I was out of the country, just getting back). So…Kevin Durant is now a Golden State Warrior. Honestly, as much as a lot of people envisioned this scenario in an NBA 2K dream sequence, I never thought it was possible. Apparently, it was. The team that went 73-9..ugh, erm, ahem…I mean, the team that lost the NBA Finals in choke fashion has just added one of the three best basketball players in the world and catapulted themseleves as, once again, the main topic of NBA conversation and, in effect, as the favorites to win it all next June.
Was it the right decision? Well, it’s obvious that Durant is looking to win a championship. There isn’t really any other reason he made this move. It’s certainly not to be the man, because the Warriors came off two straight Finals appearances and winning one. However, it doesn’t feel like much of a challenge. If his wish is to win it all, then it’s the right decision (plus, $27 million per year for two years helps). If he signed with Boston, that would have been a nice challenge. But the “super team” concept of the past decade won out in this case. Basketball wise, it’s a beautiful move. If you’re a GM and you have a chance to pair the last two men to win the MVP, you do it! THAT BEING SAID…I’m not exactly a fan of the Warriors having to make that move. Yes, they needed to upgrade, but I think more minor moves were better suited. Heck, even if they added a Pau Gasol, they would have been lethal, because the presence down low was the big issue for them. My deal is that if you stack up the roster…Klay Thompson is going to likely be the third option. I’m not crazy about that thought. Also, Barnes is likely gone and they might have to oust Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli to create the cap space. There’s work to be done there. My guess is that everyone is buying in to hang more banners, because there’s a lot of shooters for just one ball.
Of course, I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the comparison everyone is throwing around to LeBron James, when he “took his talents to South Beach” in 2010. I contend the same thing I did back then…Durant is a FREE AGENT…which means he can go wherever he wants. I don’t knock him for joining the Warriors, just as I didn’t knock Lebron James for joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. My knock on LeBron was making it a TV show, conspiring with his buddies to get together (allegedly), and making a championship parade months before the season began (“not, five, not six, not seven”). As for Durant’s announcement…he might as well just tweeted his decision instead of a post in The Players’ Tribune. I was expecting an explanation that was understandable. What we got is pretty much nothing. Something about (paraphrasing:) “going somewhere to grow and challenge myself” or something along those lines. At least when LeBron came to Cleveland, he was specific about “finishing what he started”, “winning with the young players” (Cleveland proceeded to trade these young players), and promising a title to Cleveland, which he delivered. A lot was written in KD’s post, but nothing was really said (other than the awaited announcement).
Darío Vázquez, resident expert
In a move that surprised many even though it was always a huge possibility, Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors for two years. This is without a doubt an “I want to win now” situation for Durant who has yet to make it back to the NBA Finals since 2012.
Now, this is a very difficult situation for Durant to be in. First of all, he joins a team who takes pride on leaving all the egos at the door every time they step into the court. How is he going to fit in without disrupting the chemistry will be something to watch. I personally believe this won’t be an issue since Durant has never given any signs of being a selfish player and if you can play with Russell Westbrook you can play with anybody. I doubt Stephen Curry and Draymond Green will have an issue either but one to look out for is Klay Thompson who is now a player with the talent to be the first option on 95% of the teams being downgraded to a third option. Will he manage this the same way for the sake of the team?
Durant joins a team who won a league record 73 games and was up 3-1 in the finals before being as historically bad in the last three games as they were good during the season. The expectations for the team are sky high now and anything short of being extremely dominant all the way to a championship will be seen as a failure and we all know whose shoulders will carry the blame. The Warriors were a team brought up in the traditional way. Drafting a developing their key pieces into stardom. Even though they dominated the league the last two years they were seen as the good guys who did things “the right way”. Now they will have the target on their backs just like the Miami Heat did back in 2010-2014. They have become the villains as seen by the amount of GMs refusing to trade with them to help them free the cap space needed to bring Durant on board. Will this team embrace the villain role as well as they did embracing the underdog role two years ago?
Now, the question everybody asks is, was this the right move for Durant? It remains to be seen. He left a good, young team who was six minutes away beating the team he just joined and making it to the finals. From a logical standpoint, he gave himself the best chance to win as the Warriors have been to back to back NBA Finals and have the 2-time reigning MVP in Steph Curry. It’s championship or bust now for the Warriors and the league will be going at them every single game. I’ll get back to you in June with the answer to the million dollar question.