At first, I compared the Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors move to LeBron James' move to the Miami Heat in 2010. Upon further review, I think the Durant move is far worse.
The only thing that would have made it even worse was to go to a Boys and Girls Club in Connecticut with ESPN cameras in tow and reveal to the national audience he was breaking OKC's heart by "taking his talents to the Bay Area."
When LeBron joined the Heat, they were decent, but not great. They had Dwayne Wade and nothing else. When Chris Bosh decided he wanted no part of Cleveland and chose Miami, it opened the door for the "SuperFriends" to align together. And, it worked -- four straight NBA Finals, two championships sandwiched in between, a couple of colossal chokes to start and finish.
When LeBron decided to "come home" to Cleveland, the Cavs were in far worse shape than Miami was 4 years ago. But thanks to some "lucky" (wink-wink) ping-pong balls, the team was armed with some up-and-coming players and some great assets that allowed LeBron and the Cavs to remake the franchise literally overnight. In one season, they were in the NBA Finals, coming two wins away from that elusive championship. In two seasons, they were champions.
Kevin Durant has none of this. He's joining a team that's already "loaded" that has one NBA championship under its belt and had just choked away a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals after a record-setting 73-win season. He's just another spoke in the wheel. He's not off to transform anything. He's just trying to shortcut his way to a championship, and that's sad.
Durant weathered a move from Seattle to help turn the Thunder into one of the NBA's most respected franchises. They built from the ground up, and Durant was the biggest piece of that puzzle. they reached the NBA Finals once (choked away to the Heat), but that was it. And let's not forget that choke job this year, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
If you can't beat em, join em.
After LeBron left in 2010, I felt that Durant would be the next superstar to leave a small market for a bigger one. So, I'm not entirely surprised he left OKC. However, the move to the Warriors just reeks. Fans of the NBA have a right to be upset. It's the return of the "SuperTeam," and the league is stacking the deck for a few markets. Surprisingly, Cleveland is one of them (and I'm not complaining about that).
Remember when the NBA Lockout was all about preventing teams from "stacking the deck?" How's that working out, Adam Silver? Not so good. The salary cap is a giant joke, with so many loopholes and exceptions to allow teams to go over. The Cavs benefited from this system greatly, and now have to pay a $54 million luxury tax to the NBA (and I'm sure Dan Gilbert is writing that check while staring into that Larry O'Brien Trophy in his office, knowing that it was so worth it). However, now they are hamstrung into keeping what they have without being able to add any quality assets. Hence, why they weren't involved in the Durant sweepstakes.
Fans have a right to be pissed. Sure, we're a little unhappy in Cleveland, because it's a blatant move to stick it up our asses as the Cavs try to repeat as NBA champions. But it's not just here -- it's league-wide. If you don't live in Oakland or San Francisco or San Jose or anywhere in Northern California (or aren't a front-runner), you're not happy about this! Why, because it's NO FUN!
We might as well fast forward to next June already for Cavs-Warriors III in the NBA Finals, because -- barring serious injury or stunning upset or a page torn out of the script -- this will happen again. The NBA made a ton of money on this year's postseason, and the Cavs winning was the feel-good story that captured the nation's heart (well, most of it). The rubber match, part three of the triumverate, will shatter TV records.
It's just a shame that it's effectively made every other team irrelevant. Sure, the Knicks and Celtics made some moves, as did the Hawks, but does anyone really think those will be enough to take down the Cavs? Demar DeRozen decided to stay in Toronto -- good for him, but does anyone think the Raptors can take down the Cavs?
Kevin Durant was once known as one of the best up-and-coming talents in the NBA. Today, he's just another guy and showed his true colors.
I hope the Cavs kick their ass one more time! Don't sing it, bring it!
Until next time, remember that Cleveland not only Rocks, but are also Champions!