God bless you, Kevin Durant! As a sports talk radio host, I’d kiss you on the lips if I could!
By stunning the so-called “smart people” in NBA circles who were pretty sure that he’d stay put for at least one more year, you have given us not just a meaty month or so hot-takery, but a story that will persist all the way through the season. There are no “wrong” opinions here. They’re all viable, if you ask me.
“Kevin Durant is a weak-minded, front-running, ring-chasing two-faced superstar, who can’t win a title on his own.” Okay, fair points.
“Kevin Durant is a rare star who turned down a lot of money, will likely get less shots and even less credit for a championship now. Isn’t that refreshing, and what sports is truly all about?”
I’d buy that one also.
As for the NBA: “This is a disaster for the league. All but about 5 or 6 glamour teams/markets are now cast into undeniable hopelessness. Build smart? Stay patient? Please. Don’t go there. That’s not going to win you anything, unless a superstar want to play for you.”
Oh, yeah? Hold on. “This is incredible for the NBA! You now have a super-heel mega-loaded team that just about everybody outside the Bay Area is going to enjoy rooting against! Every game, every loss, will be talked about as the Warriors chase the ghost of last year’s record season!”
As for where I stand on the merits of this move, I can’t knock Durant and I really can’t wait to see how it looks to just throw ANOTHER superstar player onto an already record breaking super-team. This is going to be awesome to watch. What if they ARE every bit as insanely unbeatable as it seems they will be on paper? Cool! But then again, what if this thing start coughing and wheezing from the start? What if there’s backbiting and bitterness about sharing the basketball? Social media shade throwing! Sideline arguments! Ooooh, boy, get the popcorn!
In other words, I’m basically just rooting for it to be interesting, and something I’ll enjoy talking about at work. Like many in the sports media, I do end up rooting for the story, more than any particular team.
Meanwhile, back in Wizards land, it’s still an embarrassment of epic proportions that Durant didn’t even grant his “hometown” team a meeting. And I’m ashamed that I endorsed the strategy of “clearing the decks” of contracts to make a run at him. I was an idiot. I should know that we are an NBA “B-League” city at best. Still better than a “C-League” city, but not the kind of town that is EVERY going to be the talk of this league. I should have known better, and should have loudly been against this two-year waste of time all along.
At least I endorsed paying Bradley Beal the max. Hell, at 5/$130M he’s a steal! Especially when Allen Crabbe gets $75 million guaranteed over four years from Portland. Who is Allen Crabbe? Your guess, is as good as mine.
The Wizards dismissed three nobodies that other teams were quick to scoop up. (Garrett Temple 3/$24M to SAC, Ramon Sessions 2/$25M to CHA, Jared Dudley 3/$30M) Then we turned around and picked up three other pieces of bad teams and THEIR unwanted free agent rubbish.
Say hello to two non-starters in Jason Smith and Andrew Nicholson of the non-play0ff appearing Orlando Magic! Both men are exactly 6.5 PPG guys! And the jewel of the haul is lumbering center Ian Mahinmi from Indiana. He finally became a starter last year, and “soared” to 9.3 PPG this past season!
All three men are now guaranteed $106 millions from Ernie Grunfeld’s stash of NBA monopoly money.
Meet the new Wizards! Same as the old Wizards! Pinch me, I’m so excited!
Back to Durant, I have a feeling it won’t be as easy as they think. I don’t think they’ll beat their own high water mark of 73 wins. And once you get into a hard fought Best-of-Seven with a good opponent, anything can happen. They’ll likely need to beat San Antonio or the Clippers, or both, and then do it again against LeBron and Co. in the finals.
I’m not putting them down as a lock just yet. I want to see how this thing looks first. But if nothing else, it will be fun to watch. Boom, or bust. If it’s “bust” then does Steve Kerr deserve to get fired? Will NOT winning the title chase either Durant or Curry to a new team next summer? Or maybe winning one more, is the worst thing that can happen for Warrior fans. What if it’s too easy? What if Durant really just wanted to do a “drive through” to get his ring? Could it be a brilliant, but short lived wrinkle in NBA history?