So why’s Durant doing it? One, because he can. And two, because Golden State has a helluva lot more to offer than OKC.
Better team, better talent around him, a better coach, a better organization, and sorry OKC, but a better town. But most of all, a better shot at a ring.
Let’s not forget, this is the same guy who told Sports Illustrated three years ago: “I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
And after coming in second in the West this year, he’s really done with it. He wants to win.
This is going to be his tenth year in the league, so he needs to win now. This isn’t about taking the easy way out. This is about being a champion. This is about winning a ring. And he’s sacrificing money, shots, and “being the man” to get one.
Does it hurt his legacy? And his rep?. Maybe in some quarters, but not nearly as much as going his entire career without winning a ring would. He already gave 9 of his best years in trying to get one in OKC, and had to be thinking, there’s nothing more than I can do here: if I really want a ring, I’m going to have to leave to get it.
Look, if Golden State had gone back to back, and Durant bounced just to gravy train them to a ring, the optics would have been bad. Then it would have looked like the Warriors can easily win rings without this guy, but Durant can’t win them without them; and now he’s just piggybacking them to get his.
But that’s not what happened. He couldn’t beat them this year, and they couldn’t beat the Cavaliers without him, so it’s not a bad look for the guy. Now, if he gets one, he’ll be viewed as a big reason they did; he’ll be seen as the guy who put them over the top.
And even if you think he’s taking the easy way out, do you think he cares? He just wants to win. And he put himself in the best possible place to do it.
Trust me, you’d do the same if you were him and I’m not going to crack him for doing himself.
Again, you may think this is a bad look, but it’s not nearly as bad as him going his whole career without a ring.