San Francisco (AFP) – Two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant has signed a new contract to remain with the Golden State Warriors, who seek a fourth title in five campaigns next season.
While the team did not disclose details of the new deal, the San Jose Mercury News, New York Times and ESPN reported the deal would pay Durant about $30 million next season and a player option for the 2019-20 season at around $31 million.
Then came the offseason. We knew the Warriors were going all in on young bigs Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, the only two center options under contract. We didn’t know how else they would shape out the frontcourt on their roster, and whether they’d return to Pachulia or West for veteran leadership and depth.
And with those moves, it’s now time to say goodbye to Pachulia and West. The Warriors have five bigs under contract, plus Draymond Green. They’re moving away from traditional, large, near-the-basket bigs, and towards young, athletic 4s and 5s who can defend in space when switched in the pick and roll.
The reality is, West and Pachulia had no future with the way the Warriors are trending, or the way the league is trending, for that matter. Looney and Bell (and hopefully soon Jones) can hold their own when switched onto James Harden, Chris Paul, and LeBron James. Jerebko can space the floor and pull opposing bigs out to the three-point line. And Cousins can . . . well, he’s Cousins. He can do it all.
Pachulia and West were never flashy, but they played huge roles for Golden State. They brought toughness, rebounds, and veteran leadership to a young team. And in their two years in the Bay, they were rewarded with their first career championships, and then their second.