It’s become commonplace to trot out this line as a way to further push the knife in the Warriors for their stunning collapse in the Finals: the 73-win Warriors lost after holding a 3-1 lead in the Finals while starting the NBA’s first unanimous MVP at point guard. It’s a particular brand of schadenfreude that the casual fan reserves for only the most dominant when they finally fall. But Golden State’s precipitous decline after such a dominating regular season may have inadvertently spurred their gigantic offseason success when Kevin Durant decided to head to the Bay.
On Monday night, Durant spoke to ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss about watching the Warriors collapse against the Cavs in the NBA Finals, and how it was perhaps the final catalyst in his decision to sign with Golden State this offseason.
“[My agent] Rich [Kleiman], who’s here, we were watching Game 7,” Durant told reporters at a ceremony in which the Warriors were presented with the ENCORE Award from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Well, as it started to unfold, it was, ‘No question, no way could you go to this team.’ And I was just like a kid, like, ‘I’d really like playing with these guys. I’d get wide-open 3s, I could just run up and down the court, get wide-open layups.’ I was basically begging him. I was like, ‘Yo, this would be nice.'”
The biggest takeaway from these comments has to be how much Durant was already thinking about the Warriors as a possible destination long before Cleveland started their comeback. He knew how much fun he’d have on their team, but was also aware of how it would look for him to sign with the two-time defending champions who had just completed perhaps one of the most dominant seasons in NBA history.