The Golden State Warriors have made the biggest splash of the year in free agency, and it’s not even close. Free agent Kevin Durant announced on Monday that he is signing with the Warriors. Marc Stein is reporting the deal is for two years, worth $54.3 million, and includes a player option for Year 2. For those wondering, the NBA is expecting a significant increase in the salary cap next season, so Durant will opt out and then sign an even bigger long-term deal. Whether it’s with the Warriors or not remains to be seen, but for now, that team is absurdly stacked.
This is not exactly like when Deion Sanders signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994, but it is certainly something at least worth considering. The top free agent on the market is joining a team that was already built well, and is adding a little more to take them back over the top. One notable difference is this Warriors team won a title in 2015, and went to the Finals this year. The 49ers of the mid-90s could not get over the hump against the Dallas Cowboys. Deion was not the only notable addition that year, but he was a big one.
A lot of people will say Durant should want to beat the Warriors not join them. That certainly is a reasonable consideration, but this is easily his best shot at winning an NBA title. And usually when people are complaining about that kind of thing, it’s because the player did not go to their team. I think any fan would love seeing a team with the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant all playing together. Some say it’s bad for the NBA, or it is boring because they are expected to win a title, but I say, putting together a mega-team can make for an interesting narrative on its own.
The Warriors had a lot of pressure this past season, particularly when it became clear they were going to challenge the Bulls wins record. Now take that late season and playoff pressure, and put it on the team the entire season. There’s nothing wrong with pressure, but it’s gonna make for a season-long circus. “Championship or bust” is often an overblown phrase, but in this case, it is entirely applicable. Injuries and other issues can arise, but if this team does not win the 2017 NBA Finals, it will make for a lost season. Of course, this team could very well challenge their own regular season wins record, so it will be a fun season to watch.