Kevin Durant dominated Fourth of July headlines this year, announcing on Monday that he has decided to sign with the Warriors later this week, rather than returning to the Thunder or heading to the Celtics, Heat, or Spurs. Many of the rest of Monday’s NBA headlines were directly correlated to Durant’s decision: Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut are both headed to the Mavericks, the Thunder may field trade offers for Russell Westbrook, the Spurs moved onto Plan B and locked up Pau Gasol, and Zaza Pachulia agreed to a deal far below his market value to join the Warriors.
In addition to those stories, we have a few more reactions and leftovers related to Durant’s signing, so let’s dive in and round up those items, sorted by KD’s new team and old team…
- In the wake of Durant’s decision, the Warriors were linked to several free agent bigs, with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reporting (via Twitter) that the team was eyeing Willie Reed and Dewayne Dedmon, while Marcus Thompson of The Bay Area News Group tweeted that Jermaine O’Neal is “game for a return” to Golden State. It was Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News that noted (via Twitter) the team’s interest in Pachulia, and it’s not clear whether or not that agreement will diminish the Dubs’ interest in those other low-cost bigs.
- A number of free agents have expressed interest in joining the Warriors on veteran-minimum contracts to help fill out the roster, according to Kennedy (via Twitter).
- In a piece for Sports Illustrated, Kennedy spoke to Draymond Green about the recruitment process for the Warriors and Durant. Meanwhile, Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com reports that Andre Iguodala gave an “incredible pitch” during Golden State’s meeting with Durant last Friday.
- Sam Amick of USA Today goes a little more in-depth on how the Warriors landed Durant, providing some interesting details on Jerry West‘s involvement and how the Warriors’ two-hour meeting with Durant played out.
- As Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated outlines, the Warriors were able to sell Durant on their unselfishness, “no-stars” culture, and their potential to win multiple titles together.
- Thunder owner Clay Bennett and GM Sam Presti both issued statements on Durant’s departure, and they were far more measured than the infamous comic-sans statement Dan Gilbert put out when LeBron James left Cleveland. “Kevin made an indelible mark on the Thunder organization and the state of Oklahoma as a founding father of this franchise,” Presti said. “We can’t adequately articulate what he meant to the foundation of this franchise and our success. While clearly disappointing that he has chosen to move on, the core values that he helped establish only lead to us thanking him for the many tangible and intangible ways that he helped our program.”
- Marcus Thompson (Twitter link) has heard chatter suggesting that it’s uncertain that Westbrook would have chosen to remain with the Thunder long-term even if Durant has stayed, which the Bay Area News Group columnist suggests may have played a role in KD’s decision.
- Royce Young of ESPN.com, however, suggests that the Thunder aren’t as worried about Westbrook leaving Oklahoma City as they were about Durant heading elsewhere, with one team source suggesting to Young that Durant’s departure may make Westbrook more compelled to stay in OKC. Of course, a lot can change between now and July 1, 2017, but Young writes that the Thunder will try to sell Westbrook on the fact that it’s his team now.
- Sources tell Young that the Thunder may take some time before making any significant roster decisions. Given how fast free agency moves, that might mean just taking a few days to think things through — it may not be long before the club has to decide on whether or not to match an offer sheet for Dion Waiters, for instance.
- In his aforementioned story for USA Today, Sam Amick notes that the Thunder believe they would have had a very good chance to sign Al Horford if Durant had returned, which makes KD’s departure an even more bitter pill to swallow.
- Also at USA Today, Amick conducted a Q&A with Presti focusing on Durant’s departure.