Durant chooses Warriors on reported 2-year, $54.3M deal

Detroit News staff and wires
Kevin Durant

NBA star Kevin Durant, the top player available on the free-agent market this year, has chosen the Golden State Warriors.

Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP, wrote on the Players’ Tribune website Monday that he would sign with the Warriors, who lost to the Cavaliers in seven games in the NBA Finals.

The four-time NBA scoring champion met with the Warriors on Friday.

ESPN reported that it was a two-year deal for $54.3 million, with a player option for the second year.

"The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction," Durant wrote on the Players' Tribune. "But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors."

Durant, 27, led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012, and to the Western Conference finals in four of the past six years. He recovered from a broken bone in his right foot that cost him much of last season to post one of the best years of his career — averages of 28.2 points, a career-high 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

"It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career," Durant wrote.

Durant will join a powerful lineup in Golden State that includes Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and former Michigan State star Draymond Green.

Durant met with at least five other teams bidding for his services -- Oklahoma City, the Clippers, Boston, San Antonio and Miami. Durant can't officially sign with the Warriors until Thursday.

The Warriors won the 2015 NBA championship and adding Durant improves their chances of getting back to the top next year and dealt a crippling blow to the Thunder, one of their top rivals in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City had a 3-1 lead on the Warriors in the conference finals before losing the next three games. Durant has had to carry much of the scoring load for the Thunder over the years, but having Curry and Thompson next to him would open up space to operate that he hasn’t had during his tenure in Oklahoma City.

Durant has been a difficult adversary for the Warriors. He averaged 30 points per game against them in this year’s Western Conference finals and dropped a career-high 54 points on them in 2014.

“Kevin’s contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound, on and off the court,” Thunder chairman Clayton I. Bennett said in a statement. “He helped the Thunder grow and succeed in immeasurable ways and impacted the community just the same.

“We thank him for his leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma.”