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.
“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.