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Kevin Durant exit a ‘good thing’ for the Warriors, claims team owner


The Golden State Warriors saw two-time NBA Finals MVP forward Kevin Durant depart in free agency last summer (via sign-and-trade), but the Bay Area franchise’s co-owner, Joe Lacob, sees the All-Star leaving for the Brooklyn Nets as a positive for the Western Conference club.

Per Anthony Slater in The Athletic:

“This is really an odd thing to say, but him leaving when he did may have turned out to be the right thing,” Lacob said, adding a needed explanation. “For him, certainly, I want him to have a good career, enjoy himself. He felt it was obviously not the right thing to stay. He wasn’t quite comfortable. I can’t explain why. I don’t know why. But for whatever reason, he moved on. But he wouldn’t have played this last year. He was injured. We would’ve had a huge payroll as a team. Maybe this is the best thing. We were able to start a rebuild a little bit earlier than we otherwise might have. Maybe it’ll prove to be the right thing in the long run that that occurred. I’m an optimist. I always look at things at what’s the positive in the situation. Yes, he left. That’s negative. But the positive is we got a chance to move forward quicker and to move into the next phase of what we’re doing.”

Lacob cites the pending salary-cap snafu as an avoided situation with the max-worthy Durant, 31, gone while the Warriors continue to pay for All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson along with former Defensive Player of the Year power forward Draymond Green.

In the long-term, the Warriors have these players under contracts for roughly 80 percent of the entire team’s payroll, per Early Bird Rights, while new mid-season addition in wing Andrew Wiggins is the third-highest player.

Should Lacob and the Warriors hit with their forthcoming top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (unless they trade it), that player could cost the team more cap space in a the form of a second contract.