OAKLAND - On most days over the last three seasons, Warriors general manager Bob Myers could look over to the basket along the north side of Rakuten Performance Center with a familiar sight: a sweat-drenched Kevin Durant launching a myriad of post-practice jumpers.
As Myers sat feet away from Durant's basket Monday afternoon, the forward's presence and the championship security blanket it that came with it are now in Brooklyn, marking the dawn of change in Golden State.
"There's an excitement, there's an awareness that it's not going to be easy," Myers said. "It's going to be different. But change was coming at some point. You never know when, you never know how but its always coming."
Golden State's summer of change started two weeks ago, acquiring D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade shortly after Durant had announced his intention to join Brooklyn. To make the deal work, the Warriors had to part with Andre Iguodala's $17 million salary, trading the veteran to Memphis. After picking Jordan Poole, Eric Paschal and Alen Smailagic and the addition of Willie Cauley Stein, Glenn Robinson and Alec Burks, the Warriors will enter the season with eight new players on the roster.
The Warriors' transition coincides with an arms race in the Western Conference. A week before Durant's decision, the Los Angeles Lakers traded for star big man Anthony Davis, pairing the all-star with three-time champion LeBron James. Weeks later, Kawhi Leonard - who helped the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals - signed with the LA Clippers in free agency, forcing a trade for all-star Paul George.
The summer comes at a particular time of peril for the Warriors. While the team enters next season with three all-stars on the roster, Golden State will be without Klay Thompson - who tore his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals - until midway through the season. Still, Myers believes the team can contend.
"Yeah, the west keeps getting better and better," Myers said. "Can we compete? Yeah, I think we have a group that's shown at least at its core - Whenever Klay comes back, with Draymond and Steph - that's a group that's shown they can win."
Golden State's roster transition is prioritizing development over winning. Last season, during the Warriors quest for a third straight title, rust, complacency and injuries led to curious regular-season losses. With a new roster, including three rookies, Myers believes more focus will be on building a winner instead of maintaining one.
"It will be different," Myers said. "Not that the regular season didn't matter before, it did, but it takes on a new meaning. I think for our fans - even myself - you walk into an arena I think everything takes on a heightened meaning, which is fun."
"All of this is coming at the right time," Myers added. "For Steve, it will be a lot of teaching. Before he had guys that operated in a system. It will be teaching and I think he'll embrace that too. A lot of learning, a lot of youth. We're going to have more highs and lows as far as winning and losing than we've had before."
The site of Myers' summer media availability is perhaps the biggest change the organization is undergoing. In the coming months, team staffers will move across the San Francisco Bay to the Chase Center. Gone will be Myers' vantage point of Durant and the comfort of watching a penciled in champion, giving way with the unknown timeline of change ahead of the franchise.
"It's a new dawn for us," Myers said. "But it's okay. We haven't been in this position for five years. It's going to be fun and it doesn't mean it's going to be easy because there is a learning curve to their NBA experience."