The biggest free-agent domino has fallen and perhaps taken down the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise with it. Kevin Durant announced Monday morning on the Players’ Tribune that he will join the Golden State Warriors, which may fundamentally alter the NBA‘s power structure:
The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as 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. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.
I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.
According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, “Durant will sign a two-year deal with the Warriors at $54.3 million, league sources say, with a player option for Year 2.” The Bay Area News Group’s Marcus Thompson, citing a source, reported that Durant “knew as early as [Sunday] night. The wait was about getting the announcement in order.”
Durant, 27, spent his first nine seasons with the Thunder franchise. He accumulated seven All-Star appearances, six All-NBA selections and an MVP award in 2013-14. The Thunder did not exist before Durant’s arrival—he was drafted the season before their move from Seattle—and he’s come to embody the franchise.