Hoooo … Leeeee … (fill in the blank).
He did it, guys. Kevin Durant signed with the bleeping Warriors.
I’m shocked. You’re shocked. And the entire NBA is in trouble.
So what does this all mean aside from it being nearly impossible to see any other team winning a championship in the next 3-4 seasons? Glad you asked, because we have a lot to get to.
It’s An Easy Decision To Understand
Anybody wondering why KD is taking his talents to the Bay? Nope. It’s clearly a decision based on rings. A 73-win team + KD = what we expect to be the greatest team of all-time. The Warriors couldn’t close it out last year, but how many conversations did we have about who would win a game between them and the ’96 Bulls? Then if I told you then that the Warriors could have Durant, everyone would pick them. I get why Durant did this.
How Long Can This Last?
In all likelihood, Durant and Curry are going to be free agents together next season and sign maximum contracts to return. But what happens when Thompson’s deal expires? Or even Draymond’s in four years? Who are the role players going to be over the next few seasons? We actually can’t really answer all the questions yet, but this isn’t going to last forever. I’d give Golden State a four-year window, and they’d better squeeze four titles out of it.
OKC Must Trade Russell Westbrook
No debate here. It’s let Russ walk or get value while you can. L.A. and Boston make the most sense in terms of location, rosters and trade assets, but getting a deal done will be tough. What’s Westbrook’s value? He’s obviously a tremendous talent, but he could be a one-year rental. The fact that everyone knows he’s leaving the Thunder weakens OKC’s leverage, but there’s bound to be a bidding war for such an elite player. This is a franchise that once traded James Harden for a bag of balls, and just lost Durant for nothing… I’m going to assume they’ve learned their lesson and try to capitalize.
Does The Rest Of The NBA Have To Sit Back And Wait?
It almost feels that way. Seriously, what kind of move could anybody make that has us saying a team can contend with the Warriors? The Cavs or Spurs trading for Westbrook? That’s about all I can think of. If you’re the Celtics or Lakers, do you consider not even trading for Westbrook if the opportunity presents itself? Are you better off keeping your 19 and 20-year old prospects and just continuing to draft players that will help you be on the rise when the Warriors may be on the decline? These are the type of ripples KD’s decision has caused.
What Do The Cavs Do?
The only team any of us think still even has a shot is Cleveland. The Westbrook idea isn’t realistic, nor would it work if you’re the Cavs. They need to find a way to bring in Dwyane Wade — a player we know fits with LeBron and would be willing to accept a more limited role. Wade isn’t in his prime like Durant, but he knows how to win. Maybe the Cavs can pull off another upset for the ages, but they’re going to need reinforcements.
Could Things Possibly Not Work Out For GSW?
Here’s the question I haven’t heard yet. Could you imagine if this doesn’t work out for the Warriors? Yeah, me neither. It’s going to work. But everything wasn’t perfect when LeBron went to Miami. There were growing pains and it only resulted in two titles in four seasons. Stuff happens.
What Qualifies As Failure?
This is a fun question, because this isn’t a championship or bust situation. We need more. I honestly believe failure would mean not winning the title in any season that all of “The Big Four” (Durant/Curry/Thompson/Green) are healthy. And that might even be generous. They might need to average 70-wins a season over the span of four straight titles. Talk about asking for all the pressure in the world. This team literally HAS TO WIN. Nothing else is acceptable.
The NBA Needs To Prevent This From Happening Again
Maybe predicting exactly how much the cap would rise this year during the last lockout is too much to ask for. But someone should have seen this coming. The perfect storm. The best team signing the best free agent at the right time because of huge changes to the cap. Figure it out and make sure it doesn’t happen again, because this is not good for the NBA. Sure, the Warriors will be a huge draw. But we might as well just have the Cavs and Warriors play a seven-game series again right now. And imagine if teams like the Celtics or Lakers do pass on Westbrook because it’s too early to start winning … yikes. It’s great for the league if there are multiple title contenders.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.