Golden State Warriors president and COO Rick Welts appeared on the CBS Sports Radio's Tiki and Tierney on Friday, and he didn't exactly brag about landing the biggest free agent to switch teams since LeBron James. Welts said that the Warriors never expected to actually sign Kevin Durant, and now that they have him, they have to show him that he should stay for the rest of his career:
"Well, I think we had hope," Warriors President and COO Rick Welts said on CBS Sports Radio's Tiki and Tierney. "We, like every other team, probably didn't think it was going to happen, and I can assure you we had no indication it was going to happen until the phone rang at 7:30 in the morning in Bob Myers' cabin on Lake Tahoe and Kevin called to give us his decision. I think there was a lot of screaming and yelling going on in the Myers' cabin at that point in time."
"There's no commitment from Kevin," Welts said. "He signed a one-year contract with a player option. So I think the hope and expectation is there's a business reason for doing that more than there is a basketball reason for doing that. We've got to be a place that is as good as he thought it was when he selected the Warriors over the other options that he had. I think we're going through a really interesting time in our league. We're all trying to figure out what the new world is going to look like."
This jibes with everything that Golden State general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr have said since Durant's decision. The meeting with Durant went exceptionally well -- and Durant said it was extremely important to him -- and everybody involved felt good about it, but nobody knew that it was actually going to happen until it did.
Even about two weeks removed from Durant's announcement, it's still a little hard to believe. A team that won 73 games in the regular season and came one win away from a second consecutive championship added another top-3 player to its roster. Durant is only 27 years old and already one of the best small forwards in NBA history. The Warriors did not have to give up any of their three All-Stars to get him. If the people in their front office did not want to get their hopes up, it's because nothing like this has ever happened before.
Here's the full interview:
Welts added that Golden State is as prepared as it possibly can be for the high expectations that accompany an addition like this. Every loss is going to be framed as a shock or a crisis, so it better be.