"I've been second my whole life, I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I've been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I'm tired of being second. I'm not going to settle for that. I'm done with it."
That's Kevin Durant, in a 2013 interview with Sports Illustrated. On Monday, he signed a 1+1 deal with the Golden State Warriors, effectively becoming the willing second fiddle to Steph Curry's Warriors. Make no mistake, this team is built on the two-time MVP and his butter smooth stroke. This is a 73-win team that has a legacy working. Durant isn't going there because he's the missing piece -- he's the Mario Star that kicks it into overdrive.
So what happens now? Well, if you go to Twitter -- the land where human decency goes to die, get reanimated and then die again -- you will see a ton of hot takes like this one here by some random on the internet:
You will also see Warriors fans be more insufferable than ever. If you think their celebration was excessive, this year they will be shooting fireworks into the sun. Joe Lacob's erection may never subside now either. People will be vindicating "The Decision". Bill Simmons will undoubtedly mention the Harden trade upward of 124,213 times. We've truly entered the darkest timeline.
Here is what it means to:
Russell Westbrook and OKC
Russ is about to play the whole season as if he ate the magic mushroom in Mario. Don't be surprised if he averages a triple-double and has blood samples taken for the next iteration of the super soldier serum. If you thought he was pissed off before, wait until you see him crossed with a Bengal tiger. OKC made some solid moves in the off-season to try and secure Durant, but it is hard to argue they did not get worse with this decision. They're still a playoff team, just not a championship one. If nothing else, this frees up space for Oladipo to be a second go-to guy and Steven Adams to continue developing. They will also probably re-sign Waiters since the money is there.
In the long term, this means the end of OKC though as it's hard to see Westbrook sticking around with both his running mates gone. Start picturing him in that Lakers jersey. If I'm Presti, I'm fielding trades now to not lose Russ for nothing and/or get a deal before he spontaneously combusts from exerting the energy of a 100 suns.
If you think LeBron's legacy was a mess after the decision, just wait until the nuclear fallout from this. There is no hometown story for KD either. He can't come back and drag a pile of miscreants to two Finals appearances and one championship. This is a curtain call on "nice KD" and the unveiling of Bond Villain Durant, except he's the Bond Henchman now. There will be no recovery from this in the eyes of 29 other franchises' fans and writers. There is a huge asterisk to everything KD does from now on in NBA lore and unlike basketball Galactus, there is no backdoor he can sneak into to change his narrative.
Golden State Warriors
You know those characters on TV that you watch and just want to be able to punch through the screen? I give you the 2016-17 Warriors. I expect Joe Lacob is writing an op-ed so delightfully seething with glee that we will picket his house tomorrow.
Welcome to Lockout 2017. The issue of max percentage against cap has now just taken front and center. The issue of the hard cap has just parked itself right next to it. Hope you get all the basketball you can this season because 29 out of 30 team owners have just had their agendas appropriately adjusted for the forthcoming negotiations. In the age where this has become the new norm, change is needed. It's unreasonable to blame Kevin Durant for taking his best shot at winning within a financial system that allows him to do so with little to no repercussions. And then do it again in one to two years if this doesn't work out while not theoretically losing any money (actually making more than signing an outright 4- or 5-year deal). This will be the No. 1 issue in next year's negotiations. You better stockpile some basketball footage.
Originally posted on Armchair Society.