The NBA’s moratorium period ends at 12:01 a.m. EST Thursday. That means all the agreements we’ve seen over the last six days will finally be finalized. It also means it’s time to start evaluating what’s transpired on a more granular level.
Because there’s so much to sift through, we’re breaking down all the player movement into handy subcategories, the first of which looks at big-name free agents. You know the guys we’re talking about. This isn’t the sneaky good Cole Aldrich deal with the Timberwolves, this is the splashing signing — or agreement, the moratorium hasn’t ended yet — that may severely transform franchises for the better or worse.
Best Big-Name Signing: Kevin Durant, Warriors
Back in February when rumors of Kevin Durant’s interest in joining the Golden State Warriors first surfaced, a vocal contingent of league followers were convinced the defending champions should simply stay the course come free agency. Why break up a group that seemed destined to not only win a second-consecutive title, but win more games than any other team in league history while doing it?
Well, mostly because basketball is a fickle game and the margin between winning and losing a championship can be razor-thin. Then there’s this, too: It’s Kevin f*cking Durant, arguably the most gifted scorer this game has ever seen. Adding a player of his wholly unique caliber to a core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson with a couple contributing pieces left over could make for the most explosive team of all time.
Would depth be an issue if the Warriors – more than halfway to 73 wins when this topic was first broached, remember – if they let the likes of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Festus Ezeli walk? More than it was the past two seasons for Steve Kerr’s team, perhaps, but that’s nothing the addition of two or three ring-chasing veterans on cheap contracts wouldn’t fix. Could Golden State’s enviable sense of chemistry and culture survive the departure of multiple title-winning incumbents? That was something to consider, sure, but nothing the leadership qualities of Kerr and Green and an increased likelihood for multiple Larry O’Brien trophies couldn’t fix.