The rich got richer during the NBA offseason when the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant, but Dubs executive Jerry West didn’t take kindly to those who questioned the fairness of the move.

In an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News on the TK Show (h/t Zach Harper of CBSSports.com), the Basketball Hall of Famer made it clear that it is every player’s prerogative to sign wherever he pleases:

It’s sour grapes. [The Los Angeles Lakers] signed Shaquille O’Neal and it wasn’t as big an uproar as this. Listen, the owners make the rules. They negotiate with the players. And for them to say something like that, to me it’s wrong on their part. The commissioner said something like that and I called him about it. I told him I didn’t think the comment was fair. It’s not fair to Kevin. It’s not fair to the Warriors. It’s not fair to any team going forward who will sign a free agent of this stature.

The players bargained for this. They have a chance to go play where they want to. I only wish I had that opportunity in my career and I’m sure a lot of other people felt the same way.

West’s reference to Adam Silver came on the heels of the commissioner saying in July that he believed the Durant signing should prompt a change to the collective bargaining agreement, according to ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon:

Just to be absolutely clear, I do not think that’s ideal from the league standpoint. For me, part of it is designing a collective bargaining agreement that encourages the distribution of great players throughout the league. On the other hand, I absolutely respect a player’s right to become a free agent and, in this case, for [Durant] to make a decision that he feels is best for him. I have no idea what’s in his mind or heart in terms of how he went about making that decision. …

In a way, the good news is that we are in a collective bargaining cycle, so it gives everybody an opportunity — owners and the union — to sit down behind closed doors and take a fresh look at the system and see if there is a better way that we can do it. My belief is we can make it better.

Although the Warriors surprisingly fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, they won a league-record 73 games during the regular season and look to have gotten even better by acquiring Durant.

In one fell swoop, Durant’s decision to join the Warriors seemingly knocked another team out of contention as well. The Oklahoma City Thunder pushed Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference Finals last season, but without KD in the fold, it is difficult to imagine OKC making that type of push in 2016-17.

There is no guarantee that Durant will mesh well with other alpha dogs such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, however. Plus, injuries can always change the complexion of the league.

Few expected last season to end with anything other than the Warriors celebrating their second consecutive NBA title, but the Cavs played spoiler. Even with Durant in Golden State, it is clear nothing is for certain.

Courtesy: Bleacher Report


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