Durant Gets His Championship And Shouldn't Be Criticized

Sports Editor

Kevin Durant played for the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008 through 2016. He was recognized as one of the NBA’s best players but he was never on a championship team. As a free agent last summer he signed with the Golden State Warriors who had won a championship two seasons ago then lost in the finals the next season. It made perfect sense to him. He wanted a championship and they had a good chance to get him one.

But a lot of fans regarded him as a traitor. Not for leaving but for joining the enemy. Let me get something straight. He did nothing wrong. He played by the NBA rules. I can understand the fans in Oklahoma being upset but why elsewhere? Durant got his championship Monday night when the Warriors ended their series with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Four games to one.

It was easy to see how the Warriors beat the Cavaliers this time. It was largely because Durant made them a far superior team than they were in last season’s finals. But some people can’t applaud a guy who leaves one team to play for another. They can’t enjoy a Warriors team that clearly the best in the NBA. Players work hard to become coveted free agents. If they want to better themselves the rules permit them to do that.

Now an especially interesting time has arrived in the NBA. Where does the league go from here? The Commissioner. Adam Silver, wants star players to remain with the same team. He got a rule passed by the owners and players that elite free agents can make millions by remaining with their teams. That rule takes effect next month when free agency arrives again.

I’ve written about this rule change several times because it will have a big impact on what’s going to happen next? I suspect Durant would have signed with Golden State anyway if the file applied last summer. He earns a lot of money from endorsements and could have done without another 20 or 30 million from the Thunder. Winning a championship was more important to him. But how will the rule affect others. The Lakers once got Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent. If the rule applied then would he have stayed in Orlando?


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