In a shocking move, one that may not have been expected, Kevin Durant has opted to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors.
In a post on The Players’ Tribune Durant announced his decision saying it has been”by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life.”
Durant is expected to sign a two-year, $54.3 million contract, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. The deal would include a player option after the first year.
“The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction,” Durant wrote. “But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth.
“With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”
Durant joins a Warriors team that is coming off back-to-back Finals appearances, winning the NBA championship in 2015 and posting a record-breaking regular season record this season but falling short to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Durant’s contract can be finalized July 7, when a leaguewide moratorium is lifted on signings and trades.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti discussed Durant’s departure in a statement.
“Kevin made an indelible mark on the Thunder organization and the state of Oklahoma as a founding father of this franchise,” Presti said. “We can’t adequately articulate what he meant to the foundation of this franchise and our success. While clearly disappointing that he has chosen to move on, the core values that he helped establish only lead to us thanking him for the many tangible and intangible ways that he helped our program.”