Durant switch marks the birth of Warriors dynasty and closes Thunder's window


LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers need to milk their incredible NBA title win for all it is worth, because it may be a long time before a team other than the Golden State Warriors gets hold of the Larry O'Brien trophy.

The Warriors may have surrendered a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers in the Finals, but the perfect response to that disappointment came on Monday as Kevin Durant announced his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and link up with two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry in the Bay Area.

Durant has already attracted criticism for choosing to make the switch to the Warriors, with some accusing him of simply hopping on the bandwagon of a record-breaking 73-win team that eliminated the Thunder having trailed 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals.

But for Durant, this was a decision made irrespective of emotion or the opinions of outsiders, this was about basketball and, more importantly, about winning.

And, in joining the Warriors, Durant has helped create a dynasty, with Golden State now in a position to win multiple titles in the years to come.

The likes of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli are set to leave the Warriors in order to free up the cap space needed for his arrival, but the benefits of adding a fourth scorer of the calibre of Durant far outweigh the negatives of losing some of the depth Golden State have had in recent times.

Far too often during the playoffs, and especially in the Finals, Warriors coach Steve Kerr left both Curry - who was not 100 per cent following ankle and knee injuries - and Klay Thompson on the bench to preserve their energy, and it was in those moments when 'The Splash Brothers' were off the court that Golden State tended to suffer.

But the acquisition of Durant, who averaged 28.2 points per game and shot 38.7 per cent from the three-point line in 2015-16, will allow Kerr to continue to manage the minutes of Curry and Thompson while still striking fear into the hearts of opponents.

Durant and Draymond Green have what it takes to do plenty of damage even with Curry and Thompson on the bench and are both good enough to excel on the defensive end.

With his length and ability to score both in the paint and from beyond the arc, Durant should make the Warriors almost impossible to stop.

Yet, while Durant and the Warriors can likely look forward to new levels of success, his departure has all but closed the championship window for the Thunder.

Durant's size and the sheer athleticism of Russell Westbrook had the Thunder within one win of defeating the Warriors in a series in which Oklahoma City appeared to have Golden State's number.

Though they added further athletic ability to their ranks with draft-day trade for Victor Oladipo, Durant's exit leaves the Thunder facing an uncertain future with Westbrook heading for free agency next year.

The Thunder have missed the playoffs just twice since the franchise relocated from Seattle but, following Durant's dramatic announcement, Oklahoma City seem poised to be watching the latter stages of the postseason from home for some time.

By contrast the Warriors and Durant will be expected to turn the NBA into a monopoly, it will take something spectacular to stop them from doing so.