Knowing he would disappoint his Oklahoma City Thunder fans and thrill those in the Bay Area, Kevin Durant said Monday that he's leaving the team that "raised" him to go to the Golden State Warriors team in Oakland.
The Washington, D.C. basketball forward issued a thoughtful five-paragraph statement titled, "My Next Chapter" on "The Players' Tribune," explaining his decision to "find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man" and move out of his "comfort zone" to a new city and community, which offers the "greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth."
According to ESPN's sources, Durant signed a two-year, $54.3 million deal with the Warriors, including a player option for Year 2.
"This is going to be rather awesome," tweeted CSN Bay Area's Brodie Brazil. "Biggest acquisition for the Bay in a long time!" Brazil added that this "get" takes the "sting" out of the Warriors losing the NBA Finals last month to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Joyous Warriors fans danced on the streets of Oakland on Monday in celebration of Durant's announcement.
"I feel like nobody is gonna be able to beat the Warriors for the next four or five years," Warriors fan Bernie Nestal said.
While Warriors fans were cheering, OKC's fans were not. "Grab the matches," one person tweeted, echoing a similar sentiment on social media. "Let's go burn some jerseys. #KevinDurant." Jacob Puma even posted some video of him burning his Durant jersey in a firepit.
Durant's decision also likely frustrated the Boston Celtics, another team that had courted him to play for them.
Durant has played small forward for the OKC Thunder, formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics. Thunder chairman Clayton Bennett was gracious about Durant's departure. "Kevin's contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound," he said in a statement.
Durant won the NBA's MVP award in 2014 - two years before Warriors' guard Steph Curry won it in 2015 and 2016, NBA Rookie of the Year and an Olympic gold medal in 2012 at the London games.
Speaking to CSN Bay Area, industry insiders, such as Sam Amick from USA Today, noted the great chemistry that Durant already has with Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, which should bode well for the team.
Warriors Coach Steve Kerr was vacationing in Hawaii when the announcement came out.
Despite the move that he hopes will be a personal win for him and his new team, Durant wrote: "It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career."
Pete Suratos contributed to this report.