Let’s swing for the fences right away.
Kevin Durant moving to the Golden State Warriors means they have acquired a massive piece to compete for another NBA championship.
This is as big as LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami. Or Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen moving to Boston to join Paul Pierce. If you want to go way back, that is like Dennis Rodman forming that sainted triumvirate in Chi-town with some dudes who go by the names of Jordan and Pippen.
Philly did that in ’83 with Moses Malone. Boston turned the trick in ’86 with the addition of a rejuvenated Bill Walton. And a year later, the Lakers had their anti-Walton in Mychal Thompson. Detroit brought in Adrian Dantley then shipped him off for Mark Aguirre.
Teams acquiring these All-Stars and some of the game’s best have dramatically tiled the balance of power.
We all know how that turned out for all of those teams. Thus, this squarely puts the Warriors as prohibitive favorites even before the first jump ball of season 2016-17.
The move definitely tilts the balance of power Golden State’s way. Seventy-three wins last year with that line-up? What will they win now? Eighty-two games? Seventy wins seemed so improbable until the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls achieved that. It seemed like it would not be broken until the 2015-16 Warriors toppled it. With that team intact? With KD in the wings? Impossible is nothing.
It is certainly possible that they will be like Miami when their own Big Three got together — they made the Big Dance but didn’t win right away. But is anyone betting against that? The Warriors are pretty much established.
Besides, Durant played alongside Steph Curry and Andre Igoudala in the United States’ gold medal squad for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Furthermore, this literally means picking your poison. Who do you guard? Steph? Klay? KD? Dray? Andre? Shaun?
What do you call the Splash Brothers now? Splash-SKD? That sounds better than Splash-SKK. That sounds terrible.
It means that Oklahoma City suddenly went from contender to hey, are we rebuilding now? Suddenly losing two key cogs from their strong sides in Durant and Serge Ibaka hurts. And to think they also lost Reggie Jackson, who is now the main man in Detroit, and James Harden years ago to Houston. Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda.
So how is OKC attractive now?
It means that teams like Cleveland, Toronto, Miami, San Antonio, and Houston will be asking, “What piece can we add to our own championship puzzle?”
It will leave general managers like OKC’s Sam Presti wondering what Adam Silver and the NBA can do to stop the formation of these super teams.
History has shown that the league cannot. Just like stopping that tidal wave by the name of the Golden State Warriors that is coming.
Hold that thought… the San Antonio Spurs just added Pau Gasol.
Can we put that coronation on hold?