The Impact Of Kevin Durant Joining The Warriors

Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors
(Illustration by Ishaan Mishra, Bleacher Report)
This day, July 4th, 2016, Kevin Durant made his decision and it was the Golden State Warriors.  The same Warriors that defeated them in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.  The same Warriors that broke the NBA record for wins in the regular season with 73 this season.  The same Warriors team with the two best shooters on the planet and adding the third in Durant.  It’s another yet another “super team” in the NBA and this one feels invincible.

In 2010, Lebron James made the choice to leave Cleveland, a contender and his hometown, and join the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  We all remember the venom and the talk surrounding that decision then.  Lebron was tarnishing his legacy, he was afraid of the competition, and instantly, Miami became the “heels” of the NBA.  Everyone hated them outside of Miami and everyone was overjoyed when they crumbled against the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki – who had a single star.

Kevin Durant and these Warriors deserve the exact same treatment.  What Durant is doing is no different than what Lebron did.  What’s so interesting to me is that Durant, and actually, Steph Curry, basically were built on the platform that they were the “anti-Lebron.”  They didn’t need super teams, they were humble, good guys, and did things the “right way.”  Now that narrative has been tarnished and I wonder what it means for they way Durant is treated this season.  Will he be able to embrace the role as the “heel” of the NBA?  Lebron never totally did and in fact, it seemed to rattle him.  He didn’t expect the backlash he received.  Does Durant?  Do the Warriors?

And what about the NBA as a whole?  Last year in my NBA season preview (East/West), I openly wondered if we were being silly to consider anyone else except Golden State and Cleveland in the Finals.  It just seemed too obvious.  The disparity in the talents of those two franchises in their respective conferences and the second best team’s was just too great.  They were clearly the class of the NBA and a rematch seemed all too obvious.  It’s even more obvious now.  Why even watch this season?  Why should I shell out $120-$200 for League Pass to watch 82 mediocre Bulls games when I know they don’t have a chance of winning?  Do I really want to take that time away from my kids and my wife?  Why not just follow college basketball more closely?  My favorite team, the Louisville Cardinals, are supposed to be pretty good.  Just 20 minutes from my house are the Kentucky Wildcats and their NBA JV squad.  Why not go check them out and see the future of the league?  I’ve been contemplating buying season tickets to my alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University’s basketball team.  Why not spend my money on that?  What makes me want to watch a lopsided league?

And what about these obese contracts being shelled out.  Remember in the early 2000s when rookie scale contracts came about to slow these young kids out of high school and college from receiving bloated contracts and then wasting their careers because they couldn’t handle it?  How is this any different?  The NBA is going to have to address this at some point.  I mention these contracts because this rising salary cap has made this Durant decision possible.  It’s absurd and it’s harmed the integrity and competitiveness of the entire league.

Some may be more intrigued this season.  I am not.  I’m disappointed in Kevin Durant and him taking the easy road of joining with the juggernaut instead of actually competing against them.  I won’t be boycotting the NBA, but I’ll definitely be watching less of it.  I have a feeling that I’m not alone on this island.

Brandon Pence is the founder and former editor of the Chicago Bulls blog “The Bulls Charge.”  You can follow him on Twitter.

Romans 3:20-24 (NLT)

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