Kevin Durant's Exit Signals Start Of New Era For Warriors
Kevin Durant signing with the Nets and various other free agency "wheeling and dealing will change the Warriors' roster significantly, as the team tries to regroup and remain a legitimate title contender going into its first season in the newly built Chase Center" in downtown S.F., according to Connor Letourneau of the S.F. CHRONICLE. A source said that Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman informed Warriors President of Basketball Operations & GM Bob Myers of Durant's decision yesterday. The Nets, as well as the Clippers and Knicks, the "two other teams Durant had considered, were told later in the day." It may actually have "helped the Nets that Durant has a relationship with their team physician, Dr. Martin O'Malley, who performed Durant's Achilles surgery June 12" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/1). In San Jose, Dieter Kurtenbach in a front-page piece writes Durant "wanted Brooklyn" and he "wanted a new challenge." That decision is "equal parts understandable and perplexing," which is to say that it was "definitively Durant" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 7/1). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes if the Warriors had resigned Durant, one could "imagine a cloud of 'How's Kevin?' uncertainty hanging over the entire first season at Chase Center, with no guarantee he could make any kind of a difference" until the fall of '20 (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/1).
ADJUSTMENT PERIOD: THE RINGER's Haley O'Shaughnessy wrote the Warriors are "now faced with an identity crisis," as they are "no longer the superest superteam" (THERINGER.com, 7/1). NBCSPORTS.com's Tom Haberstroh writes Durant's departure "signals the end of Golden State basketball as we know it" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/1). USA TODAY's Josh Peter wrote the '16 free agency period, when the Warriors signed Durant, was "perhaps the most glorious" for the team. Now, the '19 free agency period will be "remembered as one of the most painful" (USATODAY.com, 6/30). THE ATHLETIC's Ethan Strauss wrote from a Warriors' perspective, the "question still is: How did they lose out to the Nets?" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/30).