No player that plays for the Golden State Warriors from here on out (or as long as Co-Chairman & CEO Joe Lacob is in charge) will ever wear No. 35 for the team again.
In a statement announced by the franchise, Lacob thanked Kevin Durant for his work on and off the court, the job he did with the team (bringing the team two championships in three years) and to wish him the best on his way to Brooklyn and a continued Hall of Fame career.
To end things, he said that as long as he’s with the team, no player will wear his number again.
Statement from Warriors Co-Chairman & CEO Joe Lacob on Kevin Durant: pic.twitter.com/D2TPPZPuz1
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) July 1, 2019
This is a classy move by an organization that is a little shook based on what happened in free agency yesterday. Yes, they lost KD and added D’Angelo Russell, but they also traded Andre Iguodala to clear cap space for the future. Klay Thompson also signed a 5-year max deal with the organization to keep together the Splash Brothers in the short term, but it’ll be interesting to see how they move forward without Durant.
Reports have noted that Kevin left because he was concerned with the off-the-court drama surrounding the team and playing in the shadow of Curry:
“And he wanted to escape the draining debate about whether the Warriors were Stephen Curry’s team or his. At times, Durant felt taken for granted as the Warriors worked to re-emphasize their pre-Durant ‘beautiful game’ of constant movement—at the expense of Durant’s isolation play.”
Turns out, KD wanted to play basketball and not worry about the story lines (see: Are the Warriors better without KD, is this Steph’s team or Durant’s?, etc), though the team probably wasn’t manufacturing those inside the locker room.
Either way, Durant will sit out next season and come back to the Brooklyn Nets after signing a max deal with the team to change scenery and play with Kyrie Irving.