There’s a certain swagger and confidence that comes with having won two NBA titles in a row and three-of-four. You saw it on the court in New York Friday night, it was a one-point game with eight minutes to go, then Golden State flipped the switch and went on a 30-4 run. Ballgame.
That swagger, and a calmness that comes with it, are there off the court as well. Rumors are swirling around the league that Kevin Durant is going to bolt Golden State after this season and New York could be a landing spot. So when Durant and the Warriors went to New York this week, and there was a billboard to recruit KD already up, the franchise’s reaction was basically a shrug, reports Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
That’s a constant theme around these Warriors: Humor to defuse tension… Around these Warriors, it freely pops up at any moment, occasionally weaponized into a joke, like when Durant got to the Garden on Friday night and Andre Iguodala had a message for him.
“Welcome home,” Iguodala joked…
The Warriors in zero way fear the Knicks in these sweepstakes. Durant may decide to go to New York in July. They know that. The buzz is legitimate. The connections are there. His business manager, Rich Kleiman, is a New York-based Knicks fan with dreams of working in their front office one day. Royal Ivey, perhaps Durant’s best friend, is on David Fizdale’s coaching staff.
But in all aspects of basketball success and organizational management, the areas in which the Warriors can control, they are superior.
The other thing: Durant would be walking away from a dynasty. A team that — no matter what happens this season and even if KD leaves it in July — we will be talking about as one of the all-time great teams, one of the ones that defined a generation and shift in the NBA. That’s different than what LeBron James left in Cleveland last summer.
Durant may still leave, most executives around the league expect that to happen. The logic goes that he will have his rings, his finals MVPs, his Hall of Fame credentials in place, but to take the next step with his legacy he will need to lead “his team” to a title. Maybe that team is the Knicks, where Kristaps Porzingis will be the No. 2 (if he can be the same player after his ACL surgery). Maybe it’s somewhere else.
The Warriors, however, are not going to sweat it all season long, the way the Thunder did when Durant was about to hit free agency. Titles give you that swagger, that calmness.