Kevin Durant signed on the dotted line with the Golden State Warriors and then proceeded to an introductory press conference. It was the only decision, if one was not to be swayed by emotional appeals, whether they be appeals to recent home and familiarity (Oklahoma City), wanting to compete against the best rather than join them, or tradition (Boston or the thought by some that he owed a meeting to the Lakers).
A surprising element following Durant’s Warriors announcement, something not many expected, was that Presti seemed to be in that “not many” category. Durant, who has electrified the Thunder crowd for years, will now be in search for the most coveted thing in basketball, the Larry O’Brien trophy. “That call to Oklahoma City was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life”, he said.
On Russell Westbrook’s reaction: “Obviously, it’s tough”.
The Warriors told ESPN they have sold 1,000 Durant jerseys within two hours of posting them for sale online.
The 8-time NBA All-Star is now in Manila as the team manager of the Canadian national basketball team competing in the FIBA Manila Olympic Qualifying tournament against 5 other nations.
Therefore, Durant is technically joining a team that is a piece or two short of winning a championship.
Durant: “I plan on being here. That’s always gonna be a part of who I am”. They drafted well, made excellent contract decisions, and made it an attractive choice for Durant. However, he woke up on the Fourth of July and decided that he would join the Warriors. “It was real. It was a feeling I couldn’t ignore”.
The Thunder put in a valiant effort to persuade Durant to stay as Sam Presti traded Serge Ibaka in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis on draft night.
This, he said, is the harder route – “It was time for me to try something new, try a new challenge. I’m sorry you feel that way”. “You can’t do any better than adding KD to the current crew”. Sorry you feel that way, but I’m going to continue to live my life. I just tried to focus on me but also realize the relationships I had, I’m sure they won’t be the same, but I still wanted to go out there and leave with some class, some dignity. Everybody’s going to be making a lot of money, but other than five teams we’re going to be putting a shabby product out there.
“I haven’t made the decision, but he might start”, Warriors coach Steve Kerr joked.
Team officials announced that he will wear #35 for the Warriors. Even if he would’ve gone elsewhere to do it, Miller’s legacy could be bigger today than it is had he won a ring, but we’ll never know.