Why Kevin Durant is heading to New York and what awaits him there
It almost looks certain that Kevin Durant will be leaving the Golden State Warriors after consecutive NBA MVP awards in the last two Warriors finals.
Undoubtedly the 30-year-old will be a miss for the NBA’s leading side. And with much of the speculation looking to hang over the team’s seven-game series as they look for three consecutive NBA final wins; just why is he looking to leave for a New York Knicks side that not only didn’t make the playoffs but finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference?
Every athlete looks for new challenges – or projects as they like to refer to them – and Durant will be no different. The ability to take a team from the bottom all the way up to the top is something that we very rarely see, and only the best players can do that.
Make no mistake about it, Durant is of the quality that can have that kind of impact. However, he won’t be able to do it alone and will need players around him that can assist and provide cover.
At present they don’t have that, so Durant would have been made promises that the Knicks hierarchy would need to keep should they have a chance next season. Let’s be honest they won’t win the whole thing next season, but a return to the playoffs for the first time in six years would be a minimum requirement.
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Durant’s numbers don’t lie. He has averaged 26 points all season, but he is no longer the main guy at the franchise. That honour would now belong to Stephen Curry. The love and admiration that he will receive in New York would be far outweighing the coverage he gets at present, and since all sports are ego-maniacs that is fundamentally what it comes down to.
Warriors Era Ending
The second case is simple; he might want to jump ship before the Warriors era of dominance ends in tears. Of course, they have been irresistible again this season and won three more games in the regular season that their nearest challengers in the Denver Nuggets; but the Eastern sides are improving.
The Warriors have hardly had to break a sweat to get through the challenges posed by the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers to this point. The latter of which was over in four games as the Warriors crushed them.
The quality of teams in the East far outweigh that, and Durant would have surely been looking over enviously as Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been receiving acclaim from all basketball fanatics for their heroics for the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks respectively.
As we touched upon; the ego of sports stars mean that they want to be the centre of attention and Durant would be no different. The thought of them pair getting more acclaim than him would make his skin crawl.
Anyone that knows basketball will know that eras of dominance finally come to an end, and with the Raptors and Bucks having two of the best stars in the NBA their eras could just be about to start as the Warriors ends. Just look at the Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat dynasty’s they both ended, and they haven’t been seen in an NBA finals matchup for nine and five years respectively.
Of course, there are signs that the move could be a complete car-crash; just look at LeBron James’ experience at the Lakers as a sign of that. The superstar had played in the NBA playoffs’ every season from 2004 before moving to LA.
The hindsight was clear for all to see, but the path of Durant could end in the same vein. The grass isn’t always greener.
Will Kevin Durant be able to lead a team that isn’t the Warriors to the NBA Finals? Or will he come up short, much like he did when playing with Russell Westbrook and James Harden in OKC?
The 2019 off-season is going to be one hell of a spectacle.