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The Hero That Golden State Needed: The Three Sides To Every Story

Kevin Durant settled for $9 million less on a re-upped two-year deal with the Warriors. How did his decision help?

By Kenneth WilsonPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

There are plenty of phrases Warriors’ fans could have chanted after the re-signing of NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant: the boys are back in town, the whole gang’s here, we are putting the band back together, etc. The point being, the reigning NBA champions are set for another run at a title. After a flurry of free agent movement, the dust has already seemed to settle in the Bay Area. The Champs have brought back every free agent piece of their own that they deemed important, and even some that were not their own (see Swaggy P).

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The main two signings were Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, two obviously important pieces of the Warriors machine. Although they are mere peanuts compared to some contracts, like the supermax deal their teammate Steph Curry received at five years/$201 million, Iguodala received a $48 million dollar deal over three years and Livingston received a deal of exactly half that at three years/ $24 million.

Why did these deals get done? That is a simple question with a simple answer: to keep a championship team together. The more complex question with the even more complex answer, though, is how this deal got done. How as in how could they afford all of theses players on this team that include the deals of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry’s aforementioned mega deal and a slew of others that help fill out a roster of 14 or 15.

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Here’s how! That answer resides with Kevin Durant and the $9 million per year he left on the table in his current deal. He could have signed a deal that would have amounted to him making $34 million annually, the max for a player of his stature, but he chose not to. He chose to take a 2-year/$53 million deal, which is still nothing to sneeze at, but a deal that helped the Warriors keep flexibility by not pushing for that extra $18 million over the course of the contract. The ultimate question surrounding it all though, what was Durant’s motivation? Is he the hero that Golden State needs or the phony that needed and still needs them? There is a great saying that’s applied to situations like this: “there are three sides to every story. Your side, my side, and the truth,” and that is also the case with Durant.

His Side

If a reporter today were to ask Kevin Durant why he decided to take the deal he did, he would without a doubt tell you because it was “what he needed to do for the team” or something to that effect. This is true, but for many reasons. The main reason he would probably have you to believe is that it will be beneficial and better for the whole of the team, which isn’t quite total bologna. The other role players and “glue guys” like Iguodala and Livingston are what brings operations like this all together.


My Side

Although I believe that the above section may have a bit of truth to it, the main reason behind Durant’s decision to take less totally revolves around him. Durant took less because he personally needed those two in particular to come back. Not only did Livingston and Iguodala help Durant secure his first title, he hopes that they will help him secure at least another one, if not more, which would at least secure his legacy as he has watched this very thing happen with LeBron James. The second reason is of a similar ilk but on the micro level. If Iguodala were to sign with a Western Conference team, Durant and Iguodala would face each other quite a bit. This is a more direct and easily observed reason. The third reason is Kevin Durant could not continue to preach and spew the rhetoric of team this and team that or “how great it is to play on a TEAM like this” if he doesn’t also chip in and be the ultimate team player.

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The Truth

The truth is that both sides are absolutely correct. Although Kevin Durant has personal gain and motivation on his mind when making decisions, as we all do, his choices and play throughout the season indicate that he has bought in as well and become the ultimate team guy. Although he probably was thinking about individual advantages and disadvantages of having either Livingston or Iduodala as teammates, he also more than likely had the team’s best interest in mind as well, as he opted out and made a point to indicate the reason why: team flexibility.

Although there were some personal and individual motivating factors involved on KD’s part, at minimum you have to say that he was going 50/50 based on what was best for him and best for the Warriors. At the end of the day, you cannot criticize or critique him for however he felt, regardless of his actions. What you can do, however, is call him the hero Golden State needs who’s learned to look out for himself, which is no more evident in the initial move to Golden State from OKC. Whatever you call him, just add NBA Champion in front of it.


About the Creator

Kenneth Wilson

SPORTS...food...culture...music! VA raised me. Can't handle the real..........you might want to make like a tree....10-4?!

Follow me on twitter @Ksaidwhat

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