Wow. What else is there to say? I certainly never expected it.
Kevin Durant announced on Monday that he would be playing for the Golden State Warriors. In one fell swoop, the Warriors obtained one of the greatest players in the NBA, and defanged its conference rival, the Thunder.
Some other dominoes quickly fell. Warriors Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes departed for Dallas, and the Dubs obtained from Dallas a year contract for big man Zaza Pahchulia, who with Curry, Thompson, Green and Durant, probably constitutes the 2016-17 starting five.
After their initial elation, Dubs fans at the Bleacher Report obsessed with financials, trying to figure out how the Warriors pay the rest of the team. But another comment on that site says it all in one word: Surreal.
Yet it makes sense for Durant, and almost anybody. Because every player envies the players on Golden State for the team culture and the Bay Area atmosphere. Durant's one question in his meeting with the Warriors was, will I upset the team chemistry? Everybody knows that's what's special about the Warriors. Strength in Numbers is more than a slogan. (Rob Mahoney at SI makes this point at length.) Curry texted Durant, reassuring him of the team ethic, and it's not a team of rivals. Jerry West expounded on how Durant would fit in perfectly. All this is at least equal to the prospects of championships to come.
The news of Durant's announcement came as the San Francisco Giants were finishing up their afternoon game at home--Duane Kiper related it during the radio broadcast-- riding homers by Posey and Pagan behind a strong start by Peavy (yeah, the killer P's, inevitably) to beat the Rockies 3-1. Also notable: Sergio Romo returned to the bullpen, pitching in the eighth. And for the first time in awhile, the Giants got through the eighth with their lead intact.
They leaned on their rookies again, though mostly for defense. Parker and Williamson made nice outfield plays on a tricky sun-and-wind day, and Grant Green made an excellent play at second base.
The Dodgers also won so the Giants didn't get any additional space at the top of the division, but their victory did pull them to one-half game behind the Cubs for the best record in the league. They've won 16 of their last 22 games, the best record in MLB for that period.
The Pirates beat the Cardinals 4-2 to go above .500 and gain a game on second place Cards--they're now just a game and a half behind them.
It's another year of feast and famine so far. All the division leaders are near or above .600, with Cleveland, Texas and Chicago leading their divisions by at least 6 games (the Giants by 5.) Most look to be two team races at best. The American League East is the sole exception.
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