On July 4th, 2016, the NBA's landscape took a huge change that could potentially leave its mark in the Association both now, and forever.
Perennial All-Star and former league MVP Kevin Durant made his decision to join a Golden State Warriors team fresh off an historic season. After several opportunities to go to teams such as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, LA Clippers, or staying put in OKC, Durant made his surprising decision via The Players Tribune on July 4th, 2016.
"This has been by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life," Durant wrote after making his big decision. The clear motive behind Durant's move is adding an NBA title to his resume. Durant felt that joining this Warriors team would be the best way into winning his coveted championship ring.
According to ESPN, the 2017 NBA title odds are in the favor of the Golden State Warriors, sitting in at 5-7 (2-7 chance of winning the Western Conference). Durant, a 4x NBA Scoring Champion, is joining a team consisting of reigning back-to-back league MVP Stephen Curry, fellow "Splash Bro" Klay Thompson, and All-Star forward Draymond Green.
The newly formed "super-team" are considered by many as the runaway favorites for the NBA championship this next season. Kevin Durant's chances of winning his first ever NBA championship grew exponentially by joining this all-time great crew. But when you consider the biggest free-agency move since LeBron's James' decision back in 2010, how much would a potential title of this magnitude really mean to his legacy?
Durant is playing along with what many consider to be the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history in both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Complimenting Durant at the other forward position is no other than defensive stalwart Draymond Green. This team has a total of four All-Stars (including Durant), the most since the 2015 Atlanta Hawks (before them was the 2011 Boston Celtics; were crowned the 2008 NBA champions). The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors will also be the first team since the 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers to feature two MVP award winners on one team.
Some Hall of Famers, most notably Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller, weren't too happy with Durant's decision on joining this Golden State team.
"When you all get together and say 'let's dominate the league' and try to cheat your way to cheat your way to a championship... Don't you want to compete?" said Charles Barkley, per FOX Sports.
Barkley's statements would be viewed as a little contradicting on his part, considering his move to the Houston Rockets back in 1996. Some would refute that by saying unlike Durant, Barkley was out and past his prime while chasing the ring he never achieved to win.
"At the end of the day, what's more important, rings or legacy? The media only cares about rings, and rightfully so. We are judged on jewelry," says Reggie Miller.
What do you think about Durant's decision? Down the road, will fans remember him as a legitimate NBA champion, or just a scoring machine who was recognized as one of the best players in his era?