While making sure to explain that he supports Kevin Durant's right to make such a decision, NBA commissioner Adam Silver seemed concerned for the owners' sake about one of the best players in the world joining the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. A perfect storm of events (injuries to keep a contract extension for Stephen Curry low, timely free agency, and a salary cap spike) led to Durant being able to join the Warriors without the team having to dramatically alter their core. But when one team comes together like this, the rest of the league and specifically the team owners don't like such a perceived imbalance in talent hoarding.
Silver carefully spoke out about this turn of events in free agency and the way it altered the landscape of the league. But Durant's mother, Wanda Durant, apparently gave him a better understanding of how to look at it. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, K.D.'s mother explained that this wasn't like the super team/Big Three that formed in Miami when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade. The Warriors are mostly drafted and homegrown.
Well, now Silver does seem to have a sense of Durant's thought process, courtesy of Wanda Durant.
"The one thing I have learned, I was just talking to Kevin Durant's mom, every situation is different," Silver told cleveland.com on the red carpet in Los Angeles prior to the ESPYS Wednesday. "This was a team in Golden State where they have three all-stars who were all drafted. A team that's under the cap. And one free agent, who also happens to be a superstar, makes a decision to go to that team. It's very different than if multiple players from different teams had come together and said let's all land on yet a completely different team.
"Every situation is unique, and these players have difficult decisions to make," Silver said. "Of course they want to win. I'm sure it was very difficult for him to leave the Oklahoma City community. Look at the incredible things he's done there over the years. So these decisions are always difficult, and these are young men. It's a lot of responsibility."
She's correct about the situation. It is far different than star players trying to team up in the past. That doesn't mean Silver won't be asked/commanded to fix the system to prevent this stuff from happening in the future. Teams are going to be worried about keeping superstars long-term in a system similar to this. And maybe a hard cap is the only way to prevent these type of shifts from happening. That's also something the Players Association will likely never go for.
For now, teams will have to worry about Durant and the Warriors on the court before they can figure out how to try to prevent this from happening in the off-seasons of the future. Whatever the fix is, Durant to the Warriors is a special case on so many different levels.