Why would KD want to return to the Warriors?

According to reports, the market for Durant is still taking shape. Nothing is set in stone, but the fact that the Warriors were one of the first teams to be rumored tells a lot about their level of interest. People are already talking about how the Warriors could offer one of the best trade packages. Analysts are already speaking their minds on how players like Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, and Jonathan Kuminga aren’t worth trading. So despite most NBA fans wanting to believe KD to the Warriors couldn’t possibly happen again, the groundwork is there. But why would KD ever want to go back to Golden State?

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Does he really want to win another championship that badly? Like yeah, that’s a great prize, but Durant already had the opportunity to win more championships with Golden State when he hit free agency after the 2018 season. Yes, he was injured, but he could’ve stayed with the Warriors, and then when he, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all got healthy again, they could’ve carried on their merry way and won a few more titles. But Durant wanted to prove he could lead a team to a title all on his own. He’s consistently shit-talked the Warriors since leaving, claiming that the Warriors were “never a winning team before [Durant] signed there,” despite the Warriors winning a title and 73 games in back-to-back years before Durant signed there. There were also several reports that KD was jealous of Steph Curry during his time with the Warriors, citing that Golden State fans would always choose Steph over him. Durant never felt like it was his team. KD has since pushed back against that narrative, claiming it to be erroneous and “just the media trying to start something.” However, between statements he’s made since leaving the Warriors and videos all over the internet of him getting into spats with Draymond Green on the court, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t at least some truth in those rumors.

Hell, after the Warriors won the 2022 NBA title, it took Durant a while to congratulate his former team. As Curry hoisted his first-ever NBA Finals MVP trophy, Durant was posting Instagram stories about Drake’s latest album. It took nearly 24 hours for Durant to acknowledge the Warriors’ accomplishment on social media, and when he finally did congratulate them, it was in response to a disgruntled fan claiming that Durant’s legacy was officially dead.

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I don’t need to argue about how Durant’s legacy isn’t dead. It clearly isn’t. If it was, the Warriors wouldn’t pay any mind to bringing him back for a second round. He’s still arguably the greatest pure scorer of all time. However, after Steph and company won another title without Durant– proving that the Warriors don’t need Durant as much as he needs them–a move to Golden State would only emphasize the points that Durant had been trying to fight ever since he left the Bay Area.

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1) This will always be Steph’s team. It doesn’t matter if Durant came back to score 35 a game and win the second-ever unanimous MVP, the fans and front office will always value Steph over Durant for what Curry was able to do before and after Durant was his teammate.

2) Durant left Golden State to prove he didn’t need them. When Durant first came to the Bay Area, there was an argument that the Warriors needed Durant in order to win. They’d just blown a 3-1 lead to LeBron and the Cavs, and perhaps Durant was the missing piece they needed. That argument doesn’t work this time. The Warriors just ran through the playoffs without even being forced into a Game 7 situation.

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Despite Durant’s claims that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his legacy, Durant clearly does. He spends a lot of his time scrolling through Twitter arguing with nobodies and/or basketball oldheads trying to justify every decision he’s ever made in his career. Durant’s legacy isn’t dead, but it certainly wouldn’t be helped by a decision to go back to the team that he left in order to prove he didn’t need them. I know this time, Durant’s move would be due to a trade, so Durant won’t have as much a say in his next team as he did in 2016. However, if Durant really didn’t want to go to Golden State, he could just threaten a sit-out if he gets traded there. He’s got the star power and market to do that, and given the hit that his legacy could take with another move to Golden State, that might be his best course of action. In his interview on Draymond Green’s show Chips, KD said that he had no regrets about leaving the Warriors. Returning to the team in any capacity, let alone after they won another championship without him, would beg otherwise.

If Durant wants to be talked about in the same sentence as LeBron or MJ, he can’t join the team that just won its fourth NBA title in eight years. Join the Suns. Join the Bucks. Join anyone except Golden State. 

Steph-mania has seeped into the WNBA

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And now here’s the one-time Fighting Irishwoman and current Phoenix Mercury guard unholstering her “night night.”

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If I had to rank whose ode to Steph was better, it’s Diggins-Smith’s. She seemed better prepared and had the perfect expressionless assassin look on her face. I mean, she pulls out the celebration as soon as the ball rips through the net, if not sooner.

The best part of all of this Curry worshiping is you know LeBron James is watching and getting madder at every new copycat, wondering why more players aren’t high-stepping and pounding their chests. The readout Maverick Carter gave him said his routine was easy enough to emulate and would resonate with basketball fans and players alike.

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Curry might be the most charismatic player I’ve ever seen. When Michael Jordan retired after the second three-peat, Bob Costas was so enamored with His Airness that their sit-downs mirrored the Chris Farley Show. Sure, ESPN anchors and the guests LeBron invites on the Barbershop are plenty reverent toward King James.

It’s not Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo complaining about how torn they are rooting against Steph, or WNBA hoopers overlooking the corniness of the night night dance and putting opponents to rest anyway. I said that the Curry celebration was going to be in NBA 2K23, but now it’ll be featured in the promotional material.

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Fans and sportswriters love to throw around the word “transcendent” to the point that it’s lost most of its meaning. However, this particular moment isn’t the best time to make that call. It’s the small things that come after the parade and trophy presentations. Ionescu and Diggins-Smith enthusiastically imitating a hand gesture like it’s the Dougie or the Macarena is what tips the scales from fan favorite to era-defining classic.

Astros show why you never let them see you bleed

There’s not a lot that’ll put a damper on the spirits of Yankees’ fans. The team is well on pace for 100-plus wins, and Aaron Judge is having a season so good that Hal Steinbrenner will offer him a massive extension out of fear that George Steinbrenner’s ghost will suffocate him in his sleep if he doesn’t.

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The Bronx has been burning to such a face-melting degree that fans crave a dismemberment after the first sight of blood. Following a Judge walk-off single Thursday, the best team in baseball has managed a single run and five hits over two losses, with whiskey in the wound coming in the form of being no-hit for the eighth time in franchise history Saturday.

Cristian Javier pitched seven innings of hitless baseball with 13 Ks and one walk. Relievers Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly combined for the final six outs, and Houston notched the no-hitter en route to win No. 45 on the season, good for third-best in the majors.

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Gerrit Cole hurled seven innings for the Yankees, tallying eight Ks while allowing one run in a losing effort. The Astros are good, but the team also knows they’re in the heads of New York’s franchise and fans alike. This kind of pettiness is reserved for the Red Sox, and that’s it.

Either let 2017 go, or let the ’Stros get to you.

One fan had a surprise waiting for Steph Curry during the Warriors’ parade

Curry immediately realized she wasn’t just moving in for a hug and pulled back before security stepped in. This incident was seemingly harmless, but the lack of respect for personal boundaries is alarming. The act isn’t what I’m surprised at, as we’ve seen fans try to do whatever they can to get close to their favorite athletes and entertainers for decades.

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No, I’m considering the age we live in with COVID still floating around. I understand the excitement around the event, but this is too much. Fans already feel entitled in arenas to say whatever they want to players on the court. Then we have this type of incident where someone tramples over another person’s boundaries for their own gain. This is long past ridiculous.

Obviously, a hug wasn’t good enough here. We usually talk about boundaries between fans and players following some type of hostile act like fans yelling vulgar remarks or throwing items. While this incident with Curry could be viewed as playful, it was still a major invasion of personal space. How some people have such little self-awareness even now after the past two years is mind-boggling.

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I’m not trying to be Mr. No Fun Guy, but come on, we’re just talking common sense. Let’s at least try to be sensible, folks. Sure, nothing crazy happened, but what if this had been someone that wanted to cause Curry harm, and they got that close. Seems a little out there, but you never really know someone’s intentions. Local Bay Area rapper P-Lo even got snatched up by a fan that got all up in his face.

Luckily, something more serious was avoided but come on, what happened to acting like you’ve been there before. Just stay out of folks’ grills unless they invite you. And even then, proceed with caution. 

Thankfully the internet captured Klay Thompson’s championship parade for him

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Note to Matt Stafford: You’re supposed to help up people who fall down in your proximity during a championship parade.

The sloppiness didn’t stop there. Here’s Klay dropping one of his four rings while high-fiving Dubs fans.

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What’re the chances he caught COVID from the parade? Like 99.99999 percent? Smooching his ring after picking it up off the ground is a chef’s kiss to improper hygiene regardless of a pandemic. (Ed. note – five second rule applies to rings, too!)

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It’s unclear what order the lost ring, lost hat, and stumble played out, but I’m positive the Michael Jackson crotch grab came later during the shenanigans and after a few beverages.

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Paper coffee cups come right after red Solo cups in the pantheon of vessels to conceal alcohol in public, and you can tell by the way he gingerly sets it down that he’s got something other than cold brew in his glass.

The Warriors have been on a bender, and they’re soaking the Bay Area in booze in the process. Steph Curry and wife Ayesha danced like camera phones don’t exist, including Ayesha showing she also lusted for the Finals MVP trophy.

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But let’s not forget to show the aftereffects of too much champagne.

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Sunglasses on a plane is peak hangover energy, and someone needs to get Andrew Wiggins some frames because he looks three seconds away from passing out.

The Splash Bros. tour of pettiness during the Game 6 postgame celebration feels like months ago. I wonder if Thompson even remembers calling Jaren Jackson Jr. a bum or if he’s had so many proseccos that he’s not sure what was a dream and what was reality.

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Whenever the Warriors come to/sober up, they’re not going to apologize, nor should they. It’s a championship parade. Acting reckless is a prerequisite, and they’ve got a couple major cities to make sure they get home alright.

Steph Curry is the black swan

In becoming a black swan, Curry propelled himself into top-10 all-time player discussions. If you glance at any respectable rankings of the top 10 players in NBA history, you could argue each player or ones on the fringe were always destined to be in that conversation. Jordan was being called God in disguise by Larry Bird at the end of his second season.

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Kobe Bryant was a pioneer in the preps-to-pros pipeline. But he was also a Jordan facsimile from whom greatness was expected. Magic, Bird, Kareem, LeBron, Shaq, Wilt, Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Bill Russell were selected first in their respective drafts. The Hall of Fame was a given and leading respective franchises to NBA titles was the bare minimum of their career to-do lists. Oscar Robertson ended his collegiate career as the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer and has a Player of the Year trophy named in his honor.

Steph was a mid-major phenom, who fell in the draft because he was too small to play shooting guard and teams were unsure how he would fare transitioning to point guard. His first four years

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were marred by ankle injuries.

At 6-foot-3, Curry is the smallest player in the aforementioned group of greats. If you divide NBA 75 legends into divisions by size, Curry occupies a tier of his own within the ‘6-foot-4 & under’ class. Relative to his size, there’s a wider gap between Curry’s accomplishments and those of Jerry West, Isaiah Thomas, or Allen Iverson than there is between LeBron and MJ or Shaq, Olajuwon, Wilt, or Tim Duncan in the heavyweight division.

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In the ensuing decades, we might witness an undersized superstar guard come along to take advantage of modern spacing and shatter Steph’s 3-point records. And there will be other scoring champs smaller than Curry, but he’s the first below-the-rim guard to be the anchor of a bonafide dynasty.

After Durant left for Brooklyn, the Warriors were counted out again. Their acquisition of Andrew Wiggins was divisive. Bob Myers picking James Wiseman over LaMelo Ball was viewed as a blunder that would sink the Warriors’ trajectory. The league was beginning to catch up to their offense and Curry was in his age-34 season. We should have seen this coming, A lack of imagination once again led too many to count the 3-time champions out.

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The Big 3 of Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson were graciously fading into obscurity during their early to mid-30s. Expectations for Klay Thompson 2.0 were modest after he suffered an ACL tear and Achilles rupture in consecutive years. Before this season, Draymond Green was frequently mentioned as one of the NBA’s most overpaid aging assets. Iggy was traded to Memphis.

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Even all the way up to Game 4 of the 2022 Finals, Golden State retained its black swan status. At the beginning of the 2022 postseason, Curry was slumping like we’d never seen him before. Two months later, he averaged 31.2 points, five assists, 5.8 rebounds, shot 44.2 percent from distance and earned his first Finals MVP. Prior to Game 1, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast model gave Golden State a 17 percent chance of beating Boston despite their home court advantage. After four games, those odds doubled to 29 percent. FiveThirtyEight’s Basketball Power Index algorithm blew the Finals worse than they did the 2016 election. Steve Kerr even called their championship, the unlikeliest title of the nine he’s won as a player or coach.

The first title was the launching pad. Charles Barkley’s 2015 proclamation that “jump shooting teams don’t win championships” is emblematic of the popular Warriors sentiment of yesteryear.

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The energy has shifted again.

The first title was the launching pad for Curry’s legacy. His fourth title is a monument to his achievements and probably means more than any title they’ve won. He might be the first black swan to ever surprise so many people twice. Curry’s shooting changed the paradigm for better or for worse. He’s duplicated often, but never replicated. Golden State is back to being touted the favorite for the 2023 title. A fifth ring would make Curry’s case as a top-10 all-time player indisputable.

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