It’s not often one single move in free agency can affect the entire history of a sports league, but it does happen. LeBron’s decision to join the Heat was one of the most recent examples, although Kevin Durant choosing Golden State could even trump that.
It’s one of those butterfly effect moments, in that the butterfly in question is essentially Mothra. The Golden State implications are easy. Peel out a bit further, and you see what it does to Oklahoma City, and to the Western Conference as a whole. Zoom out, and there’s LeBron James staring intently with his hands on his hips. Zoom further, and there’s Adam Silver and a variety of angry owners wanting to know what to do next.
A moment like that deserves a respectful and tasteful podcast, or at least the closest version to that two people like Robby Kalland and myself can provide you. So we brought in Seamus McKiernan from The Players’ Tribune to break down how the Kevin Durant letter went from building a relationship a year ago to a reality. McKiernan has worked with Durant, who is a part owner in the platform, a few times, traveling to Oklahoma City on a number of occasions, and Durant trusted McKiernan to edit the piece when his decision was final.
As McKiernan puts it, all he really had to do was put in “a few commas,” and hit publish. But there was a lot more that went into it than that. (His portion of the podcast starts at about 35 minutes in.)
But the decision itself isn’t all that’s important here. The actual basketball matters too. And who better to explain all that than Jack Winter of DIME. Jack tells us how this will work, and what other teams will have to do to respond.
We also discussed this week:
- Dwyane Wade and those Cleveland rumors
- Who will start for the Warriors next season (hint: Durant is probably one of them)
- The possibility of Durant playing one year in Golden State, getting a ring, and bouncing
- Common misconceptions about The Players’ Tribune
- How heavily Durant weighed his decision and how much OKC does mean to him
- The complicated nature of free agency
- The fact that there’s always an “and” when it comes to athletes, who are really just people too
As always, comments and tweets are welcome. Subscribe to us on iTunes, too! You can find Robby at (@rkalland) and Martin at (@martinrickman). Jack is at (@armstrongwinter), and Seamus is at (@chezseamus). Sports are great and so are friends, but sports are always better with friends.
Special thanks to the band Annabel for our intro and outro music. They’re really good. You should buy their music at their website or perhaps see them play a show some time.