The Oklahoma City Thunder just lost one of their top players, Kevin Durant. While Durant didn’t make the decision lightly, he ultimately decided it was time for him to move on and pursue his own personal career growth. Durant has been a vital player to the Thunder team since 2008.
Durant was known for his rock star status during high school, catching the eye of major basketball coaches around the country. Born in Washington D.C., Durant started his basketball career while playing for National Christian Academy, shortly transferring for one year to Oak Hill Academy and finishing up his senior year at Montrose Christian School.
The University of Texas snagged the up-and-coming star for a year of college ball before the NBA came knocking at his door. After only one year of college basketball, Durant was off to start his professional career with Seattle’s Super Sonics. Durant didn’t breakout until he moved to the Oklahoma City Thunder one year later, where he would hone his skills, master his craft, and win numerous awards including NBA Most Valued Player Award, NBA Scoring Titles, NBA Rookie Award, and an Olympic Gold Medal.
The Decision to Move
Making the choice to leave his career-defining team, Oklahoma City Thunder, was no easy decision for Durant, telling ESPN, “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. “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.”
Impact on Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder has continued to struggle with gaining respect and recognition in the NBA, and in early 2010, many were hoping to see the rise of a dynasty. Over the next six years, Thunder impressed the basketball world with its potential, number of titles won, and overall performance. But with time comes injuries, player trades, and, more recently, the loss of, what most call, the centerpiece of the Thunder team, Durant himself. As if the hit wasn’t enough, experts are expecting to see the Thunder continue to fall from grace as one of the NBA’s greatest “what if” teams in the circuit. SB Nation offers an in depth look at the rise and fall of the Oklahoma City Thunder including their 2016 playoff collapse.
The Golden Age
Now that Durant has made his decision, announced his team change, and is looking towards his future, what will be the impact on the NBA? It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors have the core team to dominate this upcoming season and this 73-win team just added another power player, giving them the leverage they need to rock the circuit. As the rest of the teams try to cope with the recent changes, many are expecting radical trade agreements, impacts on the NBA rematch process, and salary cap re-negotiations as the entire league tries to regroup. While many speculate a major ripple effect by Durant’s decision, only time will tell just how big of an impact this player will make on the future of the NBA.