Since the 2018 NBA offseason, rumors continue to swirl about the potential departure of Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors. The speculations heated up when Durant had a heated exchange of words with Warriors star forward Draymond Green, who earned a one-game suspension and needed to pay $120,000 fine for calling KD “b*tch” and asking him to leave Golden State.
Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, former Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin was one of the people who believed Kevin Durant will re-sign with the Warriors next summer. However, in a recent appearance on The Haberstroh Show podcast (h/t NBC Sports), Griffin said that he no longer thinks the 30-year-old small forward will stay in Golden State. Griffin went as far as saying that Draymond Green and Stephen Curry are more valuable than Durant.
“And I think if you’re the Warriors — you won 73 games without this dude. And there’s a (group) of guys in that locker room that have been together — they’re the nucleus for an existing period of time. Livingston, Iguodala, Klay, Draymond, Steph — those five guys were there prior to KD, and they’re still gonna be damn good without KD, and I think they all know that. What they can’t do is win without Draymond or Steph.”
What former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said is true. Even before Kevin Durant arrived in Golden State, the Warriors have managed to win an NBA championship title in 2015 and posted a 73-9 regular-season record the following season. The departure of Durant will dramatically change the NBA landscape, but it will not take away the Warriors’ status as a legitimate title contender as long as they have the core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala.
As of now, the Warriors are still hoping that they can bring back Kevin Durant in the 2019 NBA free agency. However, if he decides to leave after the 2018-19 NBA season, the Warriors will still have plenty of options to remain as one of the best NBA teams in the league. They could use the salary cap space that is intended for Durant to re-sign DeMarcus Cousins and find a new wingman in the free agency market.
The arrival of Kevin Durant has undeniably made the Warriors a better team, but Golden State already has their own identity even before the controversial summer of 2016 took place. As of now, Durant and the Warriors are focused on winning their third consecutive NBA championship title. The NBA is expected to go in a frenzy when free agency hits next July.