Kevin Durant announces decision to join Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant is joining forces with the Splash Brothers.

The free-agent superstar forward announced Monday he would join the Golden State Warriors after a whirlwind weekend of listening to pitches from six NBA teams.

From his announcement on The Players’ Tribune:

This has been by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life. I understood cognitively that I was facing a crossroads in my evolution as a player and as a man, and that it came with exceptionally difficult choices. What I didn’t truly understand, however, was the range of emotions I would feel during this process.

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. 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 deal with Golden State is for two years, worth a total of $54 million — with an opt-out clause in the second year, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Durant had spent his entire career with the Oklahoma City Thunder (starting out as a Seattle Sonic before the team was moved), leading them to the NBA Finals in 2012 and to the Western Conference finals four times.

The Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games in the regular season in 2015-16, but fell short of repeating as champions when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game NBA Finals series.

The Warriors almost didn’t make it to the Finals, falling behind 3-1 against Durant’s Thunder in the Western Conference finals before rallying to stave off elimination.

Durant, still just 27 years old, has averaged 27.4 ppg over his career. Last season, he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

The Thunder lobbied hard to keep Durant, with pitches both before and after all his other meetings.

The team also made a big trade just before free agency opened to surround him with more talent in a bid to convince Durant the window for a title in Oklahoma City was still wide open.

But the lure of creating a big four in Oakland, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green apparently won over Durant.