The Toronto Raptors created history on Friday, with the Canadian basketball side clinching the NBA Championship with a 114-110 Game 6 win against reigning champion Golden State Warriors.
Kevin Durant may choose to leave the Warriors, but this will only leave the team stronger.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of speculation over the future of the Golden State Warriors. With several contracts coming to a close at the end of this season, such as those of Durant and Klay Thompson, the roster may look very different come the 2019-20 season.
The sheer talent the Warriors possess never comes into question, but the only questionable factor of the franchise is the chemistry within the roster.
Earlier this year, Durant and Draymond Green had an altercation that resulted in Green’s suspension. This argument came from Durant hinting he is planning on leaving the team during free agency.
It has been speculated that the nine-time NBA All Star prefers to be a big fish in a smaller pond, rather than being a key piece of the intricate puzzle that is Steve Kerr’s Golden State offence. Although Durant has consistently put up outstanding numbers, averaging 27.4 points per game this season, it is believed that he desires a more sovereign point of leadership on the team.
Unfortunately, this notion of prioritising an individual over a team does not align with the franchise’s philosophy. For this reason, Durant’s attitude is toxic to the Warriors’ style of play.
There are countless examples of ego getting in the way of team prosperity. Kyrie Irving has come look back on his decision to leave LeBron James, for the same reasons, with regret. Neither individual has been able to thrive as well without the other, now the Warriors seem to have the possibility of facing the same fate.
Fortunately, the Warriors are a unique franchise that will be able to endure the hit of Durant leaving, and continue to thrive regardless of this seemingly inevitable change.
What makes the team unique is the fact players are so enticed by the team they are willing to take pay cuts in order to be a part of the dominant powerhouse. The culture of selfless, loose, fun basketball that coach Steve Kerr has instilled is evident in every game. This is an organisational culture that is attractive to players, especially because of the success it has produced.
An example of this can be seen in Demarcus Cousins, who will be given a chance to re-sign with the team after this season. He signed a one-year $USD5.7 million contract, which is comparatively low given the max contract he originally sought from the Pelicans. In the event of Durant leaving, Cousins would be given the opportunity to take up a central offensive role.
That being said, this projection is highly contingent upon the Splash Brothers – Thompson and Steph Curry – staying intact. The energy they bring is the lifeblood of the team.
Thompson would be smart to realise that he is utilised most effectively in the Warriors’ offence. Furthermore, with the departure of Durant, it would return more of a vital role to him which will cater to any ego issues that he may be suffering from.
In the event the two-time finals MVP leaves, they’ll also have the opportunity to sign players that truly buy into the Warriors’ “Strength In Numbers” doctrine.
The commitment to this ideology is what made them the historically successful ballclub they are today, and is why they will continue to thrive in the future regardless of Durant’s departure.