The Warriors did most of their recruiting on the court, making Durant’s final memory of the Thunder’s season three straight losses. That certainly opens the door for Durant leaving Oklahoma City more than an NBA Finals berth would have.
Some flattery wouldn’t hurt, either – even as Golden State prepares to face the Cavaliers in the Finals.
“He made some really tough shots, which is what I expected,” Iguodala said of Durant. “He’s a fighter and competitor and fought to the end. It must be fun playing with a guy like that.”
Iguodala quickly added a follow-up: “Unless I’m not playing with him.”
I appreciate Iguodala’s humor about what could be a difficult situation. The Warriors went a record 73-9 and they’re chasing their second straight title – and rumors persist about breaking up the team to chase Durant this summer. That could disrupt chemistry and focus.
But the players in the crosshairs if Golden State needs to trim salary – namely Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli – have at least outwardly downplayed the potential distraction. The results also indicate the players aren’t causing major problems behind the scenes, either.
I’m sure the Warriors would love to keep all four and sign Durant, but the salary cap makes that unfeasible. Iguodala has done so much for this team – including winning Finals MVP, playing standout defense on Durant in these conference finals. But he also plays Durant’s position and is 32, two factors that make him more expendable.
Iguodala surely knows all that, but he’s clearly taking it in stride and hoping for the best-case scenario – that Durant signs with the Warriors and Iguodala is one of the players who stays to play with the super team.