“The Big Four” in Golden State?

Durant

The Golden State Warriors already have two phenomenal sharpshooters like point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Shouldn’t that be enough? Don’t forget to add in power forward Draymond Green, one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Sure, the Warriors suffered a heartbreaking NBA Finals defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s all in the past. Golden State is looking forward to making a huge splash in free-agency by luring in Oklahoma City Thunder’s small forward Kevin Durant.

According to cbssports.com’s Ananth Pandian, the “Warriors’ front office is planning on sitting down once free agency starts with Durant to discuss the opportunity in Golden State.” Golden State, along with other suitors, are scheduled to meet with him when free-agency starts on July 1. Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, and he is a lethal scorer. He stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 pounds. Durant is a threat from beyond the arc and in the paint.

He can shoot 3-pointers as well as anyone in the NBA, and he is fearless when driving to the hoop. Durant’s playing style is reminiscent of George Gervin because he is smooth and patient with the ball in his hands. Last season, he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and five assists per game.

You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should the Warriors pursue Durant in free-agency when the team does not need any more scorers? If you were watching the NBA Finals, then you saw the Cavaliers play tight defense on Curry, Thompson, and Green and left players like small forward Harrison Barnes open from beyond the arc. While Cleveland allowed him to take uncontested shots, he kept missing. He shot 35 percent from the field in the Finals, according to desmoinesregister.com’s Tommy Birch.

Imagine if Durant was the one attempting all of those open shots. He would have made most of them. Barnes’ abysmal shooting percentage in the Finals is one of the reasons why Cleveland forced a Game 7 and avoided losing the series 4-1.

If Durant does sign with the Warriors, he would bolster their starting lineup and take a lot of pressure off of Curry. Besides, Barnes is scheduled to become a free-agent, and the Warriors are not interested in re-signing him.

Durant would give the Warriors another lethal scoring option, and a player who attracts double-teams. Some fans do not want to see Durant play for the Warriors because they believe the team already has a lot of talent.

Those fans are correct, but great teams are always looking for ways to improve. It’s clear that Durant wants to play on a team that has the talent to win multiple championships. Is there a better team to sign with than Golden State? No.

Sfgate.com’s Rusty Simmons said, “Thompson and Curry will be part of the Warriors’ full-court press to reach an agreement with Durant when free-agency opens this week.”

The Splash Brothers are trying to help the Warriors’ front office make a splash in free-agency. Will it work? Golden State better hope so. If it does, folks, say hello to “The Big Four.”

Follow me on Twitter @KaleelWeatherl1

THE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Second Edition

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In the second edition of “The Association,” the primary focus is on the professional level…the NBA.

Here we are in the month of February and the Oklahoma City Thunder is playing like they want to be in the NBA championship once again, even without their floor leader Russell Westbrook. Reggie Jackson is definitely picking up the slack at the 1 position, Serge Ibaka playing magnificent ball at the 4 position and DEFINITELY should have been an All-Star this year (we’ll talk about that later) while Jeremy Lamb, 3-point veteran Derek Fisher and defensive specialist Thabo Sefalosha providing great contributions from the bench. This team has been on a roll have blown out opponents in the month of January…including their 17-point win against the Miami Heat. The person behind those epic wins is their MVP for not only the team, but the league as well…Kevin Durant.

Durant is without a doubt playing the best basketball of his career. It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that said about Durant that he can play “any of the 4 positions.” He can. He really can. He’s a great ball-handler, he can handle the wing positions and he can post up on just about anyone. He definitely a player that is hard to guard…just ask LeBron James. In their matchup on January 29th, LeBron may have won the point battle, 34-33, but it was Durant who had the last laughs. On three different occasions, Durant buried 3-point shots in the face of James. Both guys are definitely valuable to their respective teams, but you almost can’t go against either of them. LeBron is actually having a down year…at least if you are talking about his scoring average (which is at 26 points a game), but the other numbers have remained consistent. But the guy everyone is talking about in circles…is Durant. He clearly has made it known to fans and haters that he’s tired of being second best. So far, he’s the best player. I can hear the LeBron fans immortalizing the great Ric Flair’s line, “To be the best, you got to BEAT the best.” Still, Durant is the best player.

One team you should definitely watch for is the Golden State Warriors. This team is young, energetic, highly-entertaining and VERY exciting. I haven’t seen them look this good since the days of Run TMC (TIM Hardaway, MITCH Richmond, and CHRIS Mullin). If you are looking for a “one season to the playoff” team, this is not the team for you. Mark Jackson’s boys will be in the playoffs for a while. Stephon Curry playing all-star ball as usual. He needs to make sure to let his game do the talking and not his mouth. Klay Thompson is a dead-eye shooter and can give opposing guards fits. Andrew Bogut and David Lee are very solid in the post…but health will be the issue for these two. The addition of Andre Iguodala was genius by Golden State. He doesn’t have to be THE guy for this team, all he has to do is play his role where he’s needed. I can’t forget about young guys Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and the recent acquisition Jordan Crawford (from Boston), they bring punch off the bench. The Warriors are as young as the recent Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. It may look a little far-fetched that they would be in the NBA Finals this season but they have the right pieces to make themselves a championship contender.

While the New York Knicks have been the NBA’s biggest primetime drama (yeah they moved out the Lakers), the important piece of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has suddenly become an ultimate prize for other suitors. As the rumors continue to fly out about where ‘Melo could be going…whether it’s Los Angeles, Chicago or even staying in NYC…the question is: Is he worth it? It will depend on what squad decides to put him on their roster. If it’s the Lakers…you’re asking for trouble. As much as Laker fans want him there, he’s not the answer to their equation. Maybe a Kevin Love added to the mix could make it a championship contender but I just don’t see it. Yes, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics pulled off doing Big 3’s to help them win championships, but those teams were very different compared to what other NBA squads are trying to combine and make their own.  If he goes to the Clippers, it’s going to have to be in exchange for star Blake Griffin. Griffin could work well in NYC, he does like to run and the Knicks are a running team. The longshot is Chicago…yeah they don’t have Derrick Rose but they could use a scorer, the bad part is they won’t have a good defender unless head coach Tom Thibodeau can help him a great deal. Who wants an effective scorer but poor defender for their playoff-bound/championship contending team? I would choose Chicago. That’s not because I’m a Bulls fan either.

(I’m going to try to be nice with this one) The beginning of the month saw a 30-year tenure for David Stern come to an end. Stern took the NBA to an international phenomenon, taking the game all over the world, and even returning with some of the Non-American’s best players. Stern made the NBA very marketable…turning people like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James into household names. He even was the brainchild with the WNBA and did his best to bring substance to his league. Adam Silver takes over the commissioner’s position and hopefully will bring a lot more positivity to the league.

A-Train