Durant Joins Warriors Hoping For A Championship

Kevin Durant played for the Seattle Sonics for a year and eight for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the last eight without winning a championship.

He liked Oklahoma, he gave a million dollars to the city following a devastating tornado, he contributed other money, the fans loved him.

So why is he leaving? How were the Golden State Warriors able to lure him away?

The answer is simple. He wants to get a championship on his resume.

NBA players are very well paid. That’s well known. What a lot of people don’t understand is a primary goal of these superb basketball players is often to win a championship.

Charles Barkley didn’t win one. I’ve heard a lot of players say they don’t want to be known as a guy, like Barkley, who had an outstanding career but didn’t win a championship.

After meeting with six teams last week in the free agent process Durant said “I was blown away by the Clippers’ offer.” That was to become the team’s fourth star with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Well, the Warriors had the same idea. Keep their three big stars and add Durant, freeing up money to stay within the salary cap by giving up other players.

But they had a recent championship on a resume and the Clippers didn’t.

The Lakers couldn’t get into this competition because players perceive their front office situation as chaotic with Jim Buss saying he’ll leave soon if the team doesn’t significantly increase its victory total.

The Warriors gave up two starters to add Durant. They sacrificed their rights to Harrison Barnes, who plays the same position as Durant, and center Andrew Bogut.

Both went to Dallas, and I think that will make the Mavericks a strong contender for a playoff berth next season.

Bogut will make $11 million next season on the final year of his contract. The Warriors will miss his shot blocking and rebounding but they’re already made necessary adjustments by signing a pair of low-priced NBA veterans, forward David West and center Zaza Pachulia.

I think Oklahoma City will remain a strong playoff contender even without Durant. They’re eligible to give Russell Westbrook an immediate raise of $8 million. They hope he agrees but if not they’ll probably trade him.

Several months ago Jerry West told me the Warriors would have enough money to sign this season’s premier free agent regardless of who that would be.

Some NBA people didn’t believe what he said because the Warriors had three stars who would require big money.

In last week’s Observer I repeated my information and said the Warriors had targeted Durant.

A phone call from Warriors consultant West to Durant sealed the deal.


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