In basketball, a player’s value directly correlates to how much he produces for his current team–well, generally. The big move of the summer was Golden State signing Kevin Durant, but for that to happen, the Dubs had to watch some key guys leave for other teams.
Dallas traded for Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa went back to the Phoenix Suns, Festus Ezeli signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, and Harrison Barnes also went to the Mavericks alongside Bogut but signed as a free agent. Durant is filling the void left by Barnes on the depth chart and has no guilt about taking Barnes’ place.
When Durant returned to his alma mater, the University of Texas, the four-time scoring champ was asked this by a 10-year-old kid: “What do you think Harrison Barnes thinks about you taking his spot?”
KD’s response, as quoted by Mike Finger of the Houston Chronicle, was this: “I think he just got paid $95 million.”
The decision for Barnes to leave was one that will benefit all parties in coming seasons–Barnes will have a more prominent role with Dallas while Golden State has an excellent shot at winning a championship within the next few years. The four-year, $94.4 million deal that Barnes inked with the Mavericks is a clear indication Dallas has plans for him to be the “guy” once Dirk Nowitzki retires in the near future.
Golden State electing to pursue Durant is a strictly business decision, and the business of basketball is to bring the Larry O’Brian trophy home with you in June. They had an epic collapse at the hands of the Cavaliers as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving put on superhuman efforts and forced the Warriors to become the first team ever to blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals.
They are now exponentially more lethal with Durant instead of Barnes because KD is an All-World talent, and Barnes was a glorified role player. The final nail in the coffin between the Dubs and the Black Falcon could’ve been his dreadful performance in the Finals.
Although it’s a collective team effort that caused them to lose, some blame does fall on Barnes because he had an awful series shooting (35 percent from the field, 31 from three) and his defense wasn’t anywhere near what it was in the regular season. Despite all of his woes, he was a member of the championship team two years ago and had great chemistry with the rest of the squad. Throwing Durant into the pot stirs up the dynamic the team has, and it remains unknown how long until they’re all on the same page.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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