July 4th is known worldwide as America’s Independence Day. But, now there is another reason to remember July 4th. It is now the day rivalries and competitiveness left the NBA.
First off, I understand, from a pure on the court basketball reason, why Durant would want to go to Golden State. It’s the easy way out and they are the closest team to another NBA Championship. He wants to win a championship and he didn’t think he could win in Oklahoma City. But at what cost? This is the same Durant that basically called out LeBron James for leaving the Cavs eight days after The Decision. And some people will try and draw comparison to Durant’s decision to go to Golden State and LeBron going to the Heat, but it is not the same thing.
In the Summer of 2010, LeBron James was the free agent of the summer. James chose to go to the Miami Heat, a team he had no rivalry with and had never played in the postseason as a Cavalier.
When LeBron went to Miami, there were only two players still on the Miami roster from their previous championship in 2005, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. Pat Riley was not head coach anymore. The head coach was Erik Spoelstra, an assistant coach on the 2005 Miami Heat. And coming into the 2010 season, on paper, the Miami Heat were the favorites to win the championship. Going into that season there were only three players players on the Miami Heat roster that had NBA Finals experience, Wade, Haslem and James. And we all know what happened in the 2011 NBA Finals. LeBron James had a poor NBA Finals and the Heat lost the championship. Now let’s try and compare Durant’s decision to LeBron’s decision.
In the Summer of 2016, Kevin Durant was the free agent of the summer. As of July 4th, he chose to go to the Golden State. A team he just lost to in the Western Conference Finals in a Game 7 when he and the Oklahoma City Thunder gave up a 3-1 lead. His team also has a well-documented rivalry with the Golden State Warriors, but it looks like he is going to be a Warrior next year. On the roster, as of July 4th, the Warriors have 13 players on the roster with NBA Finals experience.
Let’s not forget that the in four seasons (2005-2010) between NBA Finals appearance for the Miami Heat they could not get out of the first round. And in the 2007, the Heat were not even in the playoffs, so they were declining team in the East. While these Warriors, without Durant, are one of the best teams in the NBA. Durant also walks into a team with a coach that is the reigning Coach of the Year, Steve Kerr, who also has a NBA Championship ring as a head coach.
There is no comparison in their moves. LeBron went to the Heat with many unknowns, while Durant is going to a team that just won 73 wins, second to none in the regular season. Now if LeBron had gone to the Pistons, Spurs, or Celtics in the Summer of 2010, I could see the comparison but he didn’t. Just think about LeBron in one of those three jerseys. Many people would call that act very cowardly. Many people called his move to Miami cowardly, which is wrong.
Let’s go back in history and try to imagine Michael Jordan in a Detroit Pistons jersey, you can’t. LeBron went to Miami to win a championship and beat the Boston Celtics because they were in his way. He saw Boston’s Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce) and he wanted to match that. And when Durant goes to the Warriors, he will at least have one NBA Finals win. LeBron didn’t even have that when he went to Miami. This move reminds me more of Shaq and Penny Hardaway in the 90s. Durant playing Shaq’s role and Russell Westbrook playing the role of Penny Hardaway.
And on July 4th, 2016, Kevin Durant broke up one of the only real basketball rivalries in the NBA today. Now everybody wanna play of the Warriors? Let’s go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!
One word to describe KD’s decision: Weak.