The line of petitioners at Kevin Durant’s door is growing by the hour and the Warriors are right near the front, practically breathing on the knob.
They’re not leaving until they get a clear and direct answer.
Parked on the street outside Durant’s world for nearly two years, the Warriors have been waiting for this opportunity. With free agency six days away, they’ve climbed out of the limo and are standing on the porch holding briefcases and laptops while polishing up their most persuasive lines for the meeting to come next Friday morning.
The Warriors have plenty of company on that porch, according to reports. Durant’s current team, Oklahoma City, is represented. So, too, are the San Antonio Spurs. Still on the sidewalk, waiting to confirm meetings, are representatives from Miami, Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers. No fewer than fives other teams also are said to have boots on the ground, hoping to get a chance.
Never mind that Oklahoma City remains, by all accounts, the favorite. This isn’t about odds. This is about teams chasing a dream.
If Durant decides to leave the Thunder, the only franchise he’s ever known, he most likely will settle upon the Warriors. That’s according to multiple reports and numerous league sources. It’s also what the Warriors believe, according to team sources.
Aside from OKC’s obvious advantages – comfort, familiarity and the largest potential contract – no other suitor can offer so comprehensive a package as the Warriors.
Durant has made it clear that in choosing a team his top priority is having a chance to win a championship as soon as possible. That box is checked with the Warriors, 2015 champions who reached the 2016 NBA Finals.
Furthermore, the Warriors have an aggressive ownership, which has shown every indication it is committed to building and maintaining a winning environment, even as expenses rise.
The Warriors can sell a roster of unselfish players, each of whom is eager to share the ball, and they have on their roster an optimal blend of youth and experience.
Though Durant is said to be less concerned with non-basketball goodies, such as marketing opportunities and future business connections, they matter. They always matter when a thoughtful pro athlete realizes their next big contract – the biggest he’ll ever get, in Durant’s case – is a nine-figure dollar amount.
Then, too, the Warriors in recent years have remodeled the franchise to such a degree it can take full advantage of all the Bay Area offers – social, cultural and environmental amenities found in few other places in the world.
The team that once couldn’t take advantage of place universally treasured now rides hard upon this asset.
“We’re in a really good place as far as people viewing us as successful, because we won, if for no other reason,” general manager Bob Myers said this week. “If you win, you’re deemed successful in this industry. And also, our players and coaching staff have cultivated a style that is attractive to players, and a locker room and a feel that people want to be a part of.
“I know from many years ago, that was a goal of ours: to become a place where players might want to play.”
It’s a place Durant is considering, which is the first step toward making it happen. Even while winning the 2015 NBA Finals, the fantasy of Durant as a Warriors lived inside the heads of the brain trust.
And they’re trying every angle to make it happen; Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson reportedly will be part of the committee whose sole purpose is to convince KD that he should come to Oakland
There is a chance, and that’s all the Warriors ever wanted. They believe they can turn it into reality and they’re not going anywhere until they’re told otherwise.