The Golden State Warriors set an NBA record with 73 regular season wins and then blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.
Monday, they beefed up the roster a little bit.
Kevin Durant, a four-time scoring champion and former league MVP, announced through the Players Tribune website he’s leaving Oklahoma City to join two-time MVP Stephen Curry on what can best be described as a super team.
“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,” Durant wrote on the website for athletes created by Derek Jeter back in Oct. 2014 and whom Durant serves as deputy publisher.
“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.”
With Curry, Durant and fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors now have arguably one of the most talented teams ever assembled in NBA history.
Golden State will have to make several roster moves to accommodate Durant’s $26.5 million salary next season and that will have to include trading center Andrew Bogut and letting swingman Harrison Barnes, who agreed to a four-year, $95 million max offer sheet with the Mavericks, walk.
But it’s something the Warriors will be more than happy to do after losing in the Finals last month.
Durant and the Thunder were one game away from reaching the NBA Finals last season, but blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. His departure could mean fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook, a free agent next season, will be looking to leave the Thunder as well.
The Miami Heat, who met with Durant Sunday in the Hamptons and were one of six teams vying for his services, will now turn its attention and most of its remaining $20 million in salary cap space to re-signing 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade.
To this point in free agency, Miami has managed to keep center Hassan Whiteside (four years, $98 million) but has also lost three rotation players.
Forward Luol Deng agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, swingman Joe Johnson struck a two-year, $22 million deal with the Utah Jazz and combo guard Tyler Johnson agreed to sign a four-year, $50 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets when the league’s moratorium ends on Thursday.
The Heat has three days to match the offer to Johnson, who is a restricted free agent. But he’s likely not to be retained because the final two years of the deal he agreed to with the Nets would require the Heat to pay him more than $18 and $19 million each season.
If Miami gives most if not all of its remaining cap space to Wade, 34, the Heat will have to fill the rest of its roster by using the $2.9 room exception and signing the remaining players to the league minimum.
Miami has seven players locked up for next season: Whiteside, forwards Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts and guards Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson and Briante Weber.