The NBA Finals have been anticlimactic, but not because both teams have been bad. They have been anticlimactic because one team has been so much better than the rest of the league that the result has felt almost preordained from the start of the season.

That team is the Golden State Warriors, who have cruised to another championship, their third in four years. They have been led by Kevin Durant, who now has two titles.

However, for Durant to be remembered as a truly great player, he needs to leave the Warriors and win a championship with another team.

One of the most hotly contested debates in NBA history will always be about whether or not Durant should have left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors.

The move came after the Thunder, led by Durant and Russell Westbrook, lost a heartbreaking seven game series to Golden State. Oklahoma City led the series by a three games to one margin before losing each of the last three contests of the Western Conference Finals.

After that series, Durant decided that he couldn't beat the Warriors, so he joined them.

On one hand, it makes perfect sense for Durant to have made the move he did. As evidenced by the way people remember players like Michael Jordan, nobody cares if you had tons of shortcomings on the court so long as you win lots of championships.

And Durant has certainly won titles with the Warriors, and even took a pay cut to do so. But one has to wonder if going to the Warriors didn't make him look like a lesser player in spite of the success.

Kevin Durant is undoubtedly the best player in the Golden State Warriors. His 43-point outburst in Game 3 of this year's NBA Finals more or less sealed the series for his team.

But the fact that Durant has so much help with this Warriors team has diminished his accomplishments in the eyes of many.

Whether that is fair or unfair can be debated, but the fact that Durant's life has been made dramatically easier by linking up with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson cannot be argued.

This year's NBA Finals is proof of that, in spite of KD's brilliance throughout the series. In Game 2 of the series, it was Steph Curry who grabbed the headlines when he rained nine 3-pointers down upon the Cleveland Cavaliers in a blowout win for the Warriors.

This is great for Durant, who doesn't always have to be the best player on the floor for his team to win. It is not great, however, for fans who want to see Durant have to raise his game to the level of the game's true greats.

In Game 3 of the Finals, after his 43-point outburst and dagger 3-point shot to bury the Cavaliers, Durant gritted his teeth and scowled like a conquering hero.

But that expression was ironic at best and tone-deaf at worse given that he is anything but a conquering hero in his current situation.

A player who takes a pay cut to avoid having to be the best at all times does not get to make the face of a conquering hero. That is, unless Durant leaves the Warriors soon to go to another team where he can put his stamp on things.


The benefits to Durant leaving the Warriors would be multiple around the NBA, even if the move wouldn't necessarily make things easier for Durant on his quest for more titles.

Perhaps tops on that list is the fact that the salary cap might be a legitimate limit as to how much talent can exist on a basketball team again.

Durant's pay cuts combined with the rest of the Warriors making financial sacrifices has rendered the cap toothless when it comes to preventing teams from stacking the deck with several legends of the sport.

This practice is, of course, rare in the NBA. While some stars will take slightly less than the maximum contract amount, Warriors players seem willing to take deep discounts to maximize their chances at winning multiple titles.

This puts every other team at a huge disadvantage and unfairly puts the onus on the players to take less money than they may deserve to make the league competitive once again.

Concerns of a lack of competitive balance in the NBA tend to ring out every so often, when two teams have a run of conference championships around the same time.

It happened when the Lakers and Celtics went head-to-head frequently. It happened when the Chicago Bulls ran roughshod over the league, and it is happening now. But all of that would change if Durant left Golden State, something he has said he doesn't plan on doing.

Durant leaving the Warriors would open up the number of teams with a chance to win the NBA Finals by quite a bit.

Instead of the Warriors being the only team with a realistic shot to win it all, the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and whatever team LeBron James ends up on would be instant contenders. Not to mention Durant's hypothetical squads, the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors.

Instead of being a one-horse race, there would be eight teams who could win right away, as it should be.

There is also the topic of the strength of each conference in the NBA that Durant could help address by moving back East.

As it stands now, one of the best uses of NBA basketball free bets from Oddschecker is to back teams from the West over teams from the East due to the massive disparity in talent between the conferences.

Possible destinations for Durant have included Philadelphia and Washington, two Eastern Conference cities that are close to becoming great and could use a player like Durant to push them over the top.

Washington would, of course, be the sentimental favorite to land Durant. With Durant coming from the Washington DC area, it would be incredible to see him return to his hometown in an attempt to bring them a championship.

After all, that is what LeBron James did when he returned to Cleveland after his stint in Miami. James ended up winning Cleveland the championship that had eluded them for four decades and cemented his legendary status as a result.

Kevin Durant would have the opportunity to do the same thing by joining up with the Wizards.

Of course, all of this is purely hypothetical at this point. Durant doesn't appear to have any plans to leave the Warriors, and why should he?

He can sacrifice a few million dollars in exchange for repeated appearances in the NBA Finals and the ability to win as many championships as he feels like winning.

He doesn't have to be the best player on the floor every night, because he is flanked by two of the best shooters in NBA history.

He doesn't have to set the tone for his team emotionally, because Draymond Green is there to make sure that everyone in the arena knows who the best team in the league is.

At the end of the day, the fact that Kevin Durant is a two-time champion is all he should care about. But deep down, it has been made clear that Durant can be sensitive to what others think.

He had the scandal involving the use of a burner Twitter account used to defend himself, and the fact that some have called into question his legacy based on where he plays may just eat at him enough to get him to make a change.

Of course, the money and championship rings may conversely convince him to stay put. But if he wants a new challenge, nobody outside of the Warriors organization would be upset.

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