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Kevin Durant Picks Golden State Warriors, Ending Free Agency Saga

Kevin Durant (left) will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors and guard Stephen Curry (far right). The Warriors ended the Thunder's season in May.
Sue Ogrocki
Kevin Durant (left) will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors and guard Stephen Curry (far right). The Warriors ended the Thunder's season in May.

The question of where one of the NBA's biggest stars will play next season is now answered: Kevin Durant is leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join a fellow superstar in Stephen Curry, whose Golden State Warriors narrowly missed out on repeating as NBA champions last month.

In May, Durant and the Thunder had pushed Curry and the Warriors to a Game 7 of their Western Conference playoff before the Oklahoma squad was eliminated from contention.

Durant was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player after the 2013-14 season; in Curry, he'll be joining the player who won the award for the past two seasons.

"Durant will play beside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on a loaded Warriors team that set the NBA's regular season record for victories, but fell one win short of the championship," Jacob McCleland reports from member station KGOU. McCleland adds, "ESPN reports the two-year deal is worth over $54 million."

Durant, who had been courted by nearly as many teams as the number whose fans yearned for him to revitalize their local NBA franchise, made his announcement in a post for The Players' Tribune. In it, Durant, 27, said his free agency had brought on an emotional and careful process.

From his post:

"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.

"I'm from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging."

Durant's choice quickly gained the endorsement of Lil B, a rapper whose sobriquet is The BasedGod.

More than five years after leveling a curse on Durant that stated the talented forward would never win an NBA title, Lil B — who is a Warriors fan — rescinded that punishment today.

That famous curse had been prompted by Durant's surmising that Lil B was "a wack rapper." But now, all is forgiven.

"As life unravels and superstars make decisions that change lifes, welcome home KD the curse is lifted," Lil B tweeted shortly after Durant announced his decision Monday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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