While the Golden State Warriors may still be feeling the sting of their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, new comments from Kevin Durant suggest that defeat netted the Dubs a major victory in free agency.
According to ESPN.com's Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Durant said Monday that Golden State's losing to Cleveland may have been necessary for him to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in favor of the two-time defending Western Conference champions:
As they lost, it became more and more real every day. You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit. Then once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them, they kinda showed me. But we don't have to talk about [what would have happened if the Warriors had won the title], because they didn't get the job done, and they came after me.
I guess you could say I'm glad that they lost.
Durant's agent initially expressed trepidation about signing with the Warriors:
[My agent] Rich [Kleiman], who's here, we were watching Game 7. Well, as it started to unfold, it was, 'No question, no way could you go to this team.' And I was just like a kid, like, 'I'd really like playing with these guys. I'd get wide-open threes, I could just run up and down the court, get wide-open layups.' I was basically begging him. I was like, 'Yo, this would be nice.'
Golden State set an NBA record with 73 regular-season wins in 2015-16, and if it had managed to win its second consecutive title, there wouldn't have been much incentive to make big changes to the roster. A defeat to the Cavs gave the front office a reason to go after one of the biggest free agents of all time.
With Durant in the fold for 2016-17, there is little doubt the Warriors are better equipped to win the title, even though they lost key players in Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli.
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