Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

73-win Warriors sign Durant

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant decided his best chance for "growth" meant leaving Oklahoma City behind for a big move out West to join the star-studded, record-setting Warriors and play alongside Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

In the most anticipated move of the NBA offseason, Durant announced his decision Monday on the Players' Tribune website. His contract is for $54 million over two years and includes a player option, the Associated Press reported. Durant's move will become official as soon as Thursday, when free agents can sign their new contracts.

"The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction," Durant wrote in the article. "But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors."

The 2015 champion Warriors, who squandered a 3-1 NBA Finals lead to lose to LeBron James and the Cavaliers last month, know how tough Durant is in any lineup. They rallied from down 3-1 to beat Durant and the Thunder in a seven-game Western Conference final.

Golden State, which had 73 regular-season victories, applied a full-court press to land Durant. On Friday in the Hamptons, the Warriors sent owner Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers, coach of the year Steve Kerr, Curry and Thompson to meet with the 6-foot-9 superstar.

The 2014 MVP and four-time scoring champion led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 and to the West final in four of the past six years, and he's only 27. He recovered from a broken bone in his right foot that cost him much of last season to post one of the best years of his career.

Durant met with the Thunder, Warriors, Clippers, Celtics, Spurs and Heat once teams could begin negotiating with free agents.

The Warriors become the league's latest team to add a superstar chasing a championship to a lineup of All-Stars. James made the move from Cleveland to Miami in 2010, joining a lineup that featured Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They reached four NBA Finals as a group and won two championships.

To clear cap room, Golden State agreed to trade center Andrew Bogut to the Mavericks. Details were being worked out Monday night. Dallas is also set to sign forward Harrison Barnes, who will become an unrestricted free agent after Golden State renounces his rights.

Duncan likely to retire

Spurs center Tim Duncan is leaning strongly toward retiring after an illustrious 19-year career, the Vertical website reported.

Duncan recently elected to exercise the $5.6 million player option on his 2016-17 contract, a payment the Spurs could still make regardless of whether Duncan plays or retires.

Duncan, 40, is a five-time NBA champion, three-time Finals MVP and two-time regular-season MVP. For his career, he has averaged 19 points and 10.8 rebounds. In 61 games last season, he averaged 8.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in a little more than 25 minutes per game.

The Spurs also agreed to terms with forward Pau Gasol on a two-year deal worth $30 million. Gasol, 35, has been one of the league's best big men for 15 seasons. He spent the past two with the Bulls and averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season.

WADE OFFER: Guard Dwyane Wade, 34, was extended a two-year, $40 million contract offer to stay with the Heat. The second year would be at Wade's option. The contract, if accepted, would essentially match the career-best $20 million salary Wade made this past season.

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