Kevin Durant could indeed be signing with Golden State Warriors this summer. The giant move was initially perceived as a dream scenario but the rumors are getting louder with each passing day.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe analyzed the pros and cons of the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar heading to the Bay Area. Of course, the Warriors would have to sacrifice a few players to clear enough room so Durant can be signed to a max contract. Suffice to say that Harrison Barnes, a restricted free agent this summer, would be allowed to pursue a maximum contract with a new team.
“Signing Durant with cap room would cost Golden State Harrison Barnes, and at least two of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Andrew Bogut and (Festus) Ezeli. The Warriors would have to offload two of those guys into someone else’s cap space, and they are privately worried they might have to attach one or even two future first-round picks to grease the wheels,” he revealed.
While Ezili and Barnes are restricted free agents, Igudala, Livingston and Bogut hit free agency in 2017. The Warriors can simply allow other teams to make offer sheets for Ezili and Barnes and let the duo walk. By doing so, they would have cleared enough space for Durant.
Igudala is a keeper….
Lowe also revealed that the Warriors front office is already hypothesizing over scenarios in which they won’t have to let Igudala leave. The former Finals MVP is still an integral member of the Warriors outfit, especially when the NBA champions go ‘small’ during the postseason. During the forthcoming postseason, too, Iguadala is expected to return to the starting unit like the previous Finals when he did an admirable job of guarding LeBron James.
Igudala is signed on for another season (until the end of the 2016-17 season) and would ideally like to remain with the Warriors and have his jersey number retired. By the 2017 season, the swingman would be 34 and presumably prefer to sign a veteran’s minimum contract and stay put. Why would anyone want to leave a team that brought you a championship and a Finals MVP award?
Unfair on rest of the league?
Could you imagine a small-ball starting unit of Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Andre Igudala, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry? It will essentially be a team of five players who can all shoot from deep, dribble the ball, pass, rebound and run the floor. Should the rest of the league be worrying, already?
With the sport going smaller and smaller, the Warriors would be wise to continue with their successful experiment of Draymond Green playing the 5 position. According to advanced stats, the Warriors’ small-ball unit out-scores opponents by at least 40 points on a nightly basis.
Kevin Durant would surely receive some flak for ‘joining the enemy’. But why should he? In the end, it’s all about winning championships and Durant heading to Warriors would mean the start of a new dynasty, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.