Golden State Warriors Need to Say No to Kevin Durant


The Golden State Warriors had a rather ho-hum post-championship offseason. They were content in re-signing key contributors to the end of their bench and added center Jason Thompson to replace the contract purge of power forward, David Lee.

But a rather intriguing rumor that has been circulating involving the Warriors for next summer is former MVP, Kevin Durant. Durant is in the final year of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder and has been linked to his hometown Washington Wizards to form a mega trio with John Wall and Bradley Beal. But according to some key NBA insiders like USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick, the Warriors are on a short list of teams Durant would be interested in taking his talents to:

The sheer idea of teaming Durant with Stephen Curry and company would be enough to blow the collective minds of all Warriors fans. But didn’t we learn anything last summer? Is throwing a bunch of big name players on a team a true recipe for success? Or more importantly, a guarantee of a title?

Kevin Love is nowhere near the class Durant was in pre-injury (I’ll address this later) but prior to this year, Love was considered by most to be a top 10 player in the league. He was an automatic double-double machine who could also shoot the three really well, and many thought he would be a perfect pick and pop combo with Curry. Losing Klay Thompson in a possible trade for Love would be acceptable for the chance at an even higher octane offense.

Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors /

Golden State Warriors

Well, that trade was thankfully vetoed by Steve Kerr and Jerry West, and the continued emphasis on defense turned out to be the biggest difference in not making that trade. No way do the Warriors achieve the #1 defense in the league with Kevin Love down low. The lesson learned here is that you don’t make moves to improve your team based on collecting all the top 10 guys in the league. Just because you add a 25 point per game scorer to the team doesn’t mean that that will happen on that player’s new team. I honestly believe that some general managers believe that when attempting to make these “super teams.”

Salary cap wise, we have to look at whether adding Durant is even feasible for the Warriors. They just shed Lee’s contract to significantly reduce their luxury tax payment and to essentially offset the new contract for Draymond Green. As it stands now, Curry is the fifth best paid on the team! His contract is up after next season, and with the salary cap set to balloon in the coming years, he is due for a hefty raise to somewhere around $25 million a year. Not to mention, if the Warriors are seriously considering signing Durant, his contract should look pretty similar to Curry’s. Before we even talk about complementary pieces, Curry and Durant are conservatively eating up $50M of the Warrior’s cap. And we haven’t even discussed Harrison Barnes‘ contract situation, who is currently in his final year of his rookie contract.

More from Golden State Warriors

Where does this leave us? If Durant is really coming, then Thompson is back on the chopping block. No way are the Thunder going to accept a deal centered around Andre Iguodala for Durant. I believe after this past season, Thompson deserves to stay on this team and continue to partner with Curry as the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history. He has earned that right.

I am also not convinced that Durant is a vast improvement over Thompson at this stage. Durant’s Jones fracture inhibited him from completing his comeback post-surgery and even required a bone graft surgery that only occurs in five to eight percent of all Jones fracture surgery patients.  That officially ended his 2014-15 season and has left many wondering if he is another Derrick Rose/Anfernee Hardaway superstar that goes by the wayside because of a chronic injury. Simply put, the risk the Warriors would be assuming with Durant does not outweigh what they currently have with team chemistry and role assignments.

This latter statement is the biggest key to the Warriors’ long term future as a consistent title contender. There is no team that enjoys being around one another more than the Warriors, and that intangible asset cannot be undervalued. The temptation to add Durant to an already stacked Warriors’ team is no doubt very tantalizing, but sometimes you just have to learn to say no and stick to what got you there.

Next: Golden State Warriors 2016 NBA season Record prediction