Kevin Durant alters NBA landscape with move to Golden State

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Thunder defeated the Suns 122-106.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If you can’t beat them, join them.

NBA superstar Kevin Durant, one month removed from losing an all-time Western Conference Finals to the Warriors, has announced he will join Golden State in the biggest free agency move since LeBron James returned to Cleveland.

In a post written on The Players’ Tribune, Durant said he chose the 73-win Warriors squad because he wanted to grow as both a player and a man.

“Moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth,” Durant said. “With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”

The reasoning for the move is unsatisfying for several OKC fans, to say the least.

Durant comes to the Warriors after spending his first nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. He was named the league’s MVP in 2014, and has averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds per game during his career. His unexpected decision makes the Warriors the unquestioned favorite to take home a second championship in three years.

Hall of Famer Rick Barry joined SiriusXM NBA Radio, and gave his thoughts on how the team will handle the pressures they are sure to face next season.

“This is a team, that when they have it going, they are not going to lose very many basketball games, especially when you add the dimension that Kevin Durant brings to the team,” Barry said. “So, if you have two guys having ‘off’ games, you’ve got two other guys, or more guys, that can get the job done.”

Durant took meetings in The Hamptons with several teams over the Fourth of July weekend, including with the Thunder. Reports leading up to the much-anticipated decision suggested Durant would likely stay with the only organization he’s ever played for, alongside friend and fellow all-star Russell Westbrook. Instead, Durant is now looking for a title against a team that handed the Thunder a devastating loss in the Western Conference Finals.

Up 3-1 on the Warriors, Durant and the Thunder failed three times to close the series, allowing the Warriors to successfully make a historic comeback and defeat Oklahoma City in seven games. The Warriors went on to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors will likely rely on Durant to post up more than he’s been accustomed to in years’ past, in no short part because Golden State also agreed to trade away big man Andrew Bogut and forward Harrison Barnes to the Dallas Mavericks. With Durant’s 7-foot frame and towering wingspan, the Warriors have added a skilled scorer inside the paint who can easily pass to the deadly shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the perimeter. The Warriors are hoping that’s enough to take down LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cavs squad in what may very well be a rubber match between the teams in June 2017.

The news, of course, has been polarizing, so it’s no wonder that fans of SiriusXM Sports are conflicted over Durant’s decision. With more than 400 votes cast on Twitter, about 54 percent of voters believe Durant made the wrong decision in joining Golden State.

Time will tell.

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