Durant leaving Thunder to team up with Curry's Warriors

Mon Jul 4, 2016 5:11pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant is joining the Golden State Warriors, giving the team perhaps the best consolation prize they could have hoped for after losing the NBA Finals in crushing fashion last month.

Durant's decision, which he announced on Monday in a piece posted on the Players' Tribune website, was the most highly anticipated move of the NBA's offseason and capped what he called the most challenging few weeks of his professional life.

"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 in a 351-word announcement called 'My Next Chapter'.

"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."

The 27-year-old forward, who was the biggest prize on the free agent market, is a four-times NBA scoring champion and seven-times All-Star who spent the first nine years of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.

Durant joins two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry on a Warriors team that won the NBA title in 2015 and finished runners-up in 2016 after a remarkable campaign in which they had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season.

The Warriors held a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but unthinkably were unable to close out the series as they became the first team to squander such a lead, missing out on a second consecutive championship.   Continued...

May 24, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends during the second half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo