NBA.com takes a look back at the top moments that define the history of the NBA.
Ever since he burst on the NBA scene in 2007, Kevin Durant amassed accolade after accolade playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise. By the start of the 2015-16 season, he had claimed a Rookie of the Year award, became the youngest scoring champion in NBA history, was named NBA MVP in 2014 and made multiple All-Star and All-NBA teams.
Durant was a bonafide superstar and, in the summer of 2016, an unrestricted free agent as well. In the 2015-16 season, Durant and the Thunder built a 3-1 lead on the defending-champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. However, the Thunder couldn’t close the deal, falling in Game 7 in one of the conference finals’ best comebacks ever.
In the 2015-16 season, a report surfaced that the Warriors might have a shot at landing Durant in free agency. On July 7, 2016, that notion became truth as Durant signed with the Warriors to join a lineup that already included All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green as well as 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.
On The Players Tribune web site, Durant spelled out his decision to leave the only NBA franchise he had known for the Warriors.
“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. “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.”
His move to California paid off — for both he and the Warriors — in quick fashion. Behind Durant and the rest of the Warriors’ star-studded crew, Golden State went a combined 125-39 from 2016-18 and was 32-6 in the postseason during that stretch. The Warriors made their third and fourth straight Finals in 2017 and ’18, with Durant winning Finals MVP both times as Golden State dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in ’17 and 4-0 in ’18.