The Warriors were so dominant this past season, they forced several top contenders to make surprising moves in an attempt to compete with the champs during the 2017-18 season.
The Rockets acquired Chris Paul. The Clippers signed Danilo Gallinari and European guard Milos Teodosic. The Thunder got Paul George from Indiana. The T'Wolves added Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. Denver signed Paul Millsap. Boston and Cleveland have (tentatively) swapped Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics also signed Gordon Hayward.
And Kevin Durant has some interesting thoughts on most of those moves. While speaking on The Bill Simmons Podcast recently, the NBA Finals MVP was asked about the Rockets, Thunder, Clippers, T'Wolves, Nuggets and the big Cavs-Celtics trade.
Durant on the Irving-Thomas trade:
I don't think that was because of us.
Durant on the Rockets trading for Paul:
I'm not surprised by anything, but it was kind of like 'Hmm. Damn, that's a smart move. I wouldn't think anybody would be that smart to pull that off.' I think it was a great move. You put two guys together that are crafty with the ball, they're going to get everybody shots and they going to get each other shots. It was a ballsy move to pull off by [Rockets GM Daryl] Morey. I don't think anybody would have thought to do that.
Durant on the Thunder added George to MVP Russell Westbrook.
That was a shock too. That was a shock. That was shocking because Indiana just gave him away. And I didn't think OKC would even think about giving up anything for to trade for him. I didn't think they'd do it. That was a ballsy move.
Durant on the retooled Clippers:
Teodosic...I can't wait to see him play. He made the greatest pass I ever seen my life last summer. We was all like 'How the hell did you see that?' He was running towards to the sideline and flicked around his head through two people on a dime, and he was at the 3-point line...with his right hand. It kind of faked me out. I spinned in a circle. I was like 'that's the greatest pass I've ever seen...from anybody.' Best pass I've ever seen. So I'm excited to see how he plays.
You could tell that at some point everybody there needed some new life and energy. Whether it was somebody leaving or somebody bringing in another big player, they needed new energy. And you can sense that now with the Clippers, especailly with Doc just being the head coach now. I think that's going to be good for them.
Durant on the new-look Timberwolves:
[Butler] was hurt. I could tell he was hurt he got traded. Ain't not loyalty, man. Do your thing, Jimmy.
That's a lot of talent. Let's see how that works.
Let’s go down the line with that:
Now Teague. Can’t really shoot that well but he can play. He need the ball though. And Jimmy. He can shoot it, but he need a rhythm so he need the ball, too. [Andrew] Wiggins, he the same way. He need the ball. They can all score. They all good, but somebody gotta give up something….
I’m just saying somebody will have to give up something in their games in order for it to work, and I believe that they will. But [Karl-Anthony] Towns needs to be the guy that they get the ball to, I think, because he’s so good. Jimmy needs to be facilitating. Wiggins is going to be the guy if you need a basket, he’s going to be the finisher.
Durant on the Nuggets:
Yo, they're the second best offense in the league. They were second in the league in the assists, they can shoot the 3-pointer, they got passing in their bigs and they got small guards. I think they need a point guard that they really, really believe in because they were putting [Emmanuel] Mudiay on the bench sometimes because he was hurt and they played Jameer [Nelson] and they were trying to make the playoffs so they didn't want to mess the rhythm up. I get it, but I feel like they need a stable point guard that they trust. And hopefully that's Mudiay because I'm pulling for him. But I like their team, their offense, Mike Malone. Man, when Sacramento let him go, I was like 'What are you doing?' This dude is a guru.