In a move that will haunt Oklahoma City Thunder fans for years to come, their hero is leaving for greener pastures (and possibly a ring or two). Kevin Durant has finally made his decision and is signing a two-year, $54 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, according to sources.
Durant discusses the move on his post for The Player’s Tribune:
“This has been by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life. I understood cognitively that I was facing a crossroads in my evolution as a player and as a man, and that it came with exceptionally difficult choices. What I didn’t truly understand, however, was the range of emotions I would feel during this process.
The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.
I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.
I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.”
The wing player that was selected No. 2 overall in 2007 by the franchise while they were still playing in Seattle, has meant a lot to the Oklahoma City community and Thunder fans, but now leaves that legacy for the next step in his playing career. What will sting the most for OKC fans is that the Thunder held a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals over the Warriors before collapsing down the stretch to the eventual runner-ups.
Some might compare Durant’s move to that of LeBron James, but the difference here is that he didn’t set up a press conference to announce his decision, and he had a humble, low-key approach to the scenario. This decision is likely one of the most difficult for a player like Durant, and he knows that this will hurt many people for the near future.
At the same time, it is hard to blame him for wanting to pursue a championship that has eluded him over the past nine seasons, and joining the Warriors could lead to those elusive titles and makes Golden State even more dangerous.
The rest of NBA free agency will seem like a blur now that Durant has decided where he will play during the 2016-17 season, and the Thunder are now Russell Westbrook‘s team to lead against the newest Western Conference juggernaut. If he leaves in free agency after next season, the Thunder will become a mythological team that only exists through legendary tales.