An Optimist's Key Takeaways from the Kevin Durant Decision

Source: (Hashtag Basketball - Brian Han)
 

(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) -- When the news broke Monday of Kevin Durant's decision to join the already-stacked Golden State Warriors, the majority of NBA fans and players collectively shook their heads.

At the very least, the Los Angeles Clippers organization knew more than 24 hours beforehand that they would not be the chosen suitors in the quest for 2016's hottest free agent prize.

For others like the Boston Celtics, and of course, the Oklahoma City Thunder, high hopes came crashing down from the greatest of heights during the eleventh hour.

Then there are the rest of us who frantically refreshed the Player's Tribune website during a July Fourth barbecue, while getting intimately familiar with the face of Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley.

Regardless of if you're a Warriors fan or not, some key takeaways became readily apparent in the process.

First off, Durant's change of scenery is nothing short of historic and Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel put the situation into an appropriate context.

 

So far, the superstar forward has been publicly torn apart by many in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on social media.

 

But don't forget that he played an instrumental role in bringing cultural relevance and revitalizing Oklahoma City's local economy for the better part of a decade. He even donated a significant amount of money and time to help after tornadoes ravaged the area back in 2013.

The deciding factor on the two-year $54.3 million agreement revolved around his desire for a championship. In his nine seasons as a professional basketball player, Durant has accomplished nearly everything, but that. He was crowned the 2014 Most Valuable Player, is a five-time All-Star and All-NBA First Team selection, and was named Rookie of the Year back in 2008.

The Thunder offered just a bit more money in the two-year contract proposal, but the 27-year-old's priorities became crystal clear when he left that on the table.

He wants to win, and there's truly no better time for him to do so than now while he's in the middle of his prime. Joining the Warriors maximizes his potential to do just that.

 

Second. The 2017 offseason will be an even wilder ride with the likes of Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, among many big names, all of whom will be hitting the free agent market along with an even more significant salary cap boost - $24.1 million to be exact, which totals to $94.1 million. On top of that, it is likely that Durant and LeBron James will decline their player options to declare free agency once again.

Members of the media reported every single minute detail of Durant's offseason journey, so next year's narratives will inevitably be even more difficult to navigate.

The lesson here? Take every piece of information with a grain of salt.

The Warriors met with Durant, and it "went well."

Then the Celtics met with him, and it "went very well."

Then the Clippers spoke with him and he was "blown away."

With no other information, it seemed as if Durant could have found his way to Southern California.

Context says otherwise.

Durant began each of those meetings with very different expectations. The Clippers are the proud victims of a curse that will apparently never allow them to make it past the second round of the playoffs.

To be "blown away" with those types of standards can only amount to so much.

As mentioned earlier, Clippers' superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are set to be unrestricted free agents after next season, which creates even more uncertainty in the franchise's future.

Another thing to take note of, especially as a Clippers fan is this.

Durant felt most impressed by the Clippers' "vision and direction" according to The Guardian. If anything, that should be taken as a sign of reassurance that despite all of the team's recent hardships, new and exciting plans are in the works.

Keep in mind that Durant's new contract will only last two years at most and one at the very least. On top of that, a flurry of top-tier free agents will hit the market next year and it wouldn't be out of the question that the same "vision" could be applied to other players.

The final takeaway comes down to entertainment value. If you're not a Warriors fan, that's just too bad. Your team's chances of winning a ring next year just drastically fell below any reasonable odds.

But one thing that's hard to argue against is the likelihood that this new squad with a 27-year-old Durant will be even more fun to watch than the 73-win team we all witnessed this season.

We are spoiled so why not embrace it?


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