Why Kevin Durant Makes Warriors Favorites on 2017 NBA Title Betting Lines?“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. “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.”
Of course the Warriors won 73 regular-season games this past season, setting an NBA record. They were down 3-1 in the conference finals to Durant and the Thunder but won the final three games. But in trying for a second straight NBA title, Golden State became the first team in the NBA Finals to blow a 3-1 series lead, with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking their first championship. would Durant have left OKC if the Thunder had beaten the Warriors? I doubt it.
Now the Warriors have the look of the best team of all-time with Durant joining All-Stars Steph Curry, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors will be the first team in NBA history to have four All-Stars with none of them older than 28. They were the NBA’s best offensive team this past season; they will be unstoppable with Durant. He averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists last season, and he scored at least 20 points in 67 straight games. Coach Steve Kerr can now keep at least either Curry or Durant on the court at all times, an unbelievable luxury that allows Golden State to focus on shooting and defense from the other spots on the court without having to worry much about the need to create shots.
Durant is expected to sign a two-year, $54.3 million contract. The deal would include a player option after the first year. That way, Durant can opt-out after this season and sign a bigger long-term deal next summer when the salary cap rises again.
With Durant’s decision, the Warriors now will not match the four-year, $95 million offer sheet that Harrison Barnes agreed to with the Dallas Mavericks. They also won’t bring back big man Festus Ezeli and will trade center Andrew Bogut and his 2016-17 contract with a base value of just over $11 million. Bogut reportedly will also be headed to Dallas. The Warriors will also have to renounce most of their other free agents, though they could keep the rights to one of Ian Clark, James Michael McAdoo and Brandon Rush. After signing Durant, Golden State would then have the $2.9 million room exception available and would have to fill out the remainder of the roster with players making the minimum salary.
Durant also was considering the Thunder of course as well as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat. San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.
The champion Cleveland Cavaliers are now +400 second-favorites to repeat next season. Oklahoma City is a +6000 long shot on betting lines after losing Durant. The Thunder might also now be forced to trade their other superstar, Russell Westbrook, if he tells the team he plans on leaving next summer as a free agent. It’s definitely the end of an era in OKC.