Tuesday Teabag, July 12, 2016 – The Kevin Durant Free Agency Freak Out

Kevin DurantThat’s right!  We’re back with a brand new Teabag!  We receive millions, thousands, hundreds, tens, many emails and tweets (if you’re not following us on Twitter, you’re doing it wrong), and they all want to know the same thing:  Why haven’t you written a Teabag in so long?  Are you still hungover from the Draft Party?  Busy playing Pokemon Go?  Do you no longer like to give Teabags?

No, no, and no.  True, we may have drunk our weight in Coors Light at the Draft Party, but we’re not going soft on you.  In fact, we’re busy gearing up for another for another (wildly successful) fantasy football season.  Also, if we catch any of you playing Pokemon Go (and yes, we’re watching) we will openly shame you.  And we’ll never stop loving teabags.  So with that, let’s get right to our Teabag du jour.

You may have heard that Kevin Durant signed with Golden State last week.  The signing is beyond huge.  KD is a Top 5 player…a Top 3 player if you really know your NBA.  League MVP.  He’s spent his entire career with the OKC franchise, and after (multiple) unsuccessful postseasons, decided to take his talents to Oaktown.

Now, not surprisingly, OKC fans freaked out…burning his jersey, crying in the streets, essentially erasing his name from the City.  Some of that’s to be expected…at least from the fans.  Fans are, by nature, fanatical, and have a weird sense of ownership over the players that play for their team…well, at least the good ones.  Pretty sure no one would freak out if Cameron Payne left the Thunder.

A bit much.

A bit much.

Anyway, what’s odd is that KD is getting shit from journalists and other “knowledgeable” sports writers.  Notable blowhard Stephen A. Smith (a past Teabag recipient) said it was “the weakest move I’ve even seen an NBA superstar commit.”  He then tried to explain his reasoning as follows:

“You are riding the gravy train. You’re jumping on the bandwagon. They don’t need you. They’ve won without you. Chances are, they’d win again, without you. You are jumping on their coattails to do what some would say you should have done already. Considering the great talent that you are. That’s my issue with Kevin Durant. Nothing else. Not him choosing to leave Oklahoma City. Not him choosing to go someplace else. Not him choosing to depart from Russell Westbrook.”

Think about that for a second.  He’s not upset KD left Oklahoma City.  He’s upset he left to go to Golden State, a more successful team.  Where was he supposed to go?  Milwaukee?  Why would he go to a worse team?  If he took more money from a worse team, wouldn’t that make him more selfish?  Instead, he decided to go to a (much) better team.

But more than just Stephen, other people have come out against this trade.  Michael Rosenberg wrote a long-winded, get your ball off my yard article, incredulously wondering “where is Durant’s competitive spirit?” Mike Lupica whined that Durant took “the path of least resistance.”

The Machine is here to say, you guys are out of your fucking minds.  Path of least resistance?  Guess what team is going to have the most pressure to win next season?  Golden State.  If they don’t win the title, the season will be a waste.  Shit, if they don’t win more than 73 games, the season will be a waste.  Where’s his competitive spirit?  Umm, he was sick of losing in the playoffs and waiting for OKC to bring in more talent.  He made this move because of his competitive spirit.  He wants to win, and wants to win now.  The NBA is a young man’s game.  He’s in his prime, but he won’t be there for long.  He can’t keep wondering if the Thunder will put together a championship caliber team.  They’ve been unsuccessful in 9 years.

If OKC really wanted to keep KD, then they wouldn’t have let James Harden leave.  Yes folks, the writing’s been on the wall since 2012, when OKC traded Harden to the Rockets.  The Thunder were just coming off a Finals appearance…Harden was a budding superstar (he won the NBA 6th man of the year in 2012) and they were poised to get back to the Finals.  Instead, OKC hit reset, traded Harden, and put it all on KD and Westbrook’s shoulders, which isn’t enough.  Why?  Because if any of the past, say, five NBA champions have taught us anything, it’s that’s you need more than 2 superstars on your team to win.  Here’s some math equations:

Duncan + Manu + Parker = Championship.

LeBron + Kyrie + Love = Championship.

Wade + Bosh + LeBron = Championship.

Wade + Bosh = NO Championship.

What could'be been.

What could’be been.

Durant and Westbrook were never going to win a championship together, and OKC didn’t do enough to bring in a third championship-caliber player.  Which leaves to my next point.

Guess where Russell Westbrook is going to be after next season?  Answer:  Not Oklahoma City.  Should KD sit around and wait for Westbrook to bail and be left holding the bag?  That’s absurd.  Leaving now is the smartest decision he could make.

You know what else is smart?  The contract Durant signed.  Durant signed a two year, $54 million contract.  But the beauty is that the second year is a player option…meaning Durant will be a free agent again after next season.  This sets him up perfectly for the projected salary cap increase.  If you recall, LeBron James has been milking the one year player options as well.  Durant has put himself in the best position possible.  He can win a championship, and then land a max contract.  Not a bad deal.

And, while we’re talking about money, let’s be clear that his decision was not motivated by money.  Per NBA rules, his best option money-was would’ve been to sign a 1 year deal with OKC and then a max out contract.

This isn’t about money…it’s about winning.  And spare me the bullshit, nostalgia talk of yesteryear.  Larry Bird would never play with Magic Johnson…blah, blah, blah.  You know what KD owes OKC?  Not one god damn thing.  He balled for them, brought them to the Finals, won an MVP, made the franchise relevant.  He deserves to enjoy the fruits of his labor.  A fan’s loyalty runs only as deep as the talent.  And, not for nothing, but THAT’S WHAT FREE AGENCY IS FOR!  Gone are the days when superstars stayed with their team for life.  LeBron, Wade, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett…all left.

This is also perfect for Golden State (so much for the big market cities dominating free agency).  There is uncertainty with Steph Curry’s ankles, and who knows what’s going to happen with the nut-ninja Draymond Green.  This move gives the Warriors the ability to rest Curry so that he’s not limping into the playoffs next year.

Kevin Durant, The Machine says bravo.  The Warriors are going to score 400 points a game next year.  All the KD bashing is just nonsense, we’ve yet to hear one credible argument.  Somehow, the fun loving, small market team turned into the enemy overnight.  That’s alright…KD will laugh all the way to the NBA Finals.

Enjoy your teabag.