Silver understands Warriors backlash but credits team's drafting

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jun 21 2018 09:09 AM

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (middle) receives the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (left) as Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) reacts at right after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. David Richard, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he understands why some fans are upset about the Golden State Warriors' assembly of a superteam with Kevin Durant, but he also gave the team praise for earning the success it has achieved.

Speaking on ESPN's Golic and Wingo on Wednesday, Silver was asked about the state of the league and the assertion by many that it lacks parity, as reflected by the Warriors' dominance and the same NBA Finals matchup happening four years in a row.

"I get it in terms of Kevin Durant [joining the Warriors in 2016]," he said. "It was a bit of an aberration in our system; we had a spike in our cap, it enabled them to have additional cap room.

"The Warriors will tell you they would have figured out a way to get it done anyway."

Before signing Durant, Golden State had secured the 2014-15 NBA championship in six games over the Cleveland Cavaliers and then blown a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the 2015-16 Finals to narrowly miss out on back-to-back titles.

They have since won consecutive titles over Cleveland while going a combined 32-6 in the playoffs, including 8-1 in the Finals.

Silver praised the team for putting together the other necessary pieces to engineer such a dominant stretch.

"I've said repeatedly, let's also celebrate excellence," he said. "Ownership, the job Bob Myers has done as a GM, Steve Kerr, of course, one of the great coaches in our league. Steph Curry, drafted. Klay Thompson, drafted. Draymond Green drafted 35th by Golden State Warriors."

The commissioner added that he hears more complaints about the Warriors' -- and Cavaliers' -- dominance from other teams around the league than he does from fans.

"The 28 other teams, they're the biggest complainers that these two teams have met four times in a row [in the Finals]," Silver said.

"Ultimately, collectively our 30 teams are in charge with what system we have, along with the players. And by the way, the players on 29 other teams want a system regardless of where they are drafted or where they sign to be able to compete for championships, and that's what you want."

Silver also noted the issue is nothing new, saying "there have been dynasties forever in this league."

He said the league won't try to break up superteams in order to "force some sort of parity that is kind of unnatural," but he did suggest changes could be explored when the collective bargaining agreement expires -- either after 2023-2024, or a year earlier if either side opts out -- including the possibility of a harder salary cap.

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