NBA panel changes its opinion on Kevin Durant's future with Warriors


NBA panel changes its opinion on Kevin Durant's future with Warriors

Programming note: Watch the Warriors take on the Heat at 4:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Kevin Durant's pending free agency has probably been discussed just as much (if not more) as the actual regular season games.

It's just the nature of the beast.

Back in late November, 38 people who cover the NBA for ESPN were asked to predict where Durant will play next season.

The results:

1) Warriors = 45 percent
2) Knicks = 26 percent
3) Lakers = 21 percent
4) Clippers = 8 percent

A lot has changed in three months. The panel was recently asked the same question and here are the results:

1) Knicks = 64 percent
2) Warriors = 33 percent
3) Lakers = 3 percent

Clearly, the Kristaps Porzingis trade (combined with Kyrie Irving backing off his long-term commitment to Boston) has changed many perspectives.

Hopefully your outlook right now is to relish watching the reigning two-time Finals MVP on a nightly basis and then worry about his future when the season officially comes to a close.

You should cherish the opportunity to see KD do stuff like this in a Warriors uniform:

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast -- Cousins scores season high, Dubs beat Hornets]

Over his last nine games, the 10-time All-Star is averaging 26.8 points and shooting just under 60 percent from the field. That's nuts.

You can't control what happens in July, so just enjoy each and every moment while you can.

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How Steph Curry, Warriors' brand continues to make huge global impact

How Steph Curry, Warriors' brand continues to make huge global impact

Despite the down season and not being one of the 22 teams invited to the Orlando restart, the Warriors still manage to be a global phenomenon.

In an interview with The Athletic, P.K. Ong, co-founder of the SG Basketball academy which has multiple venues in Singapore, said that’s apparent. It showed quickly with the pace of the way they sell out of a certain superstar’s jersey. 

“Whenever you go into a (sporting goods) store, Steph Curry jerseys are the first thing you see when you walk in," Ong said. "They’re everywhere,."

Ong also told The Athletic, the shift changed in who the kids he coached looked up to off the court as well. They went from being huge Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant fans to wanting to shoot three-pointers like Steph.

Don’t we all want that?

Back in 2018, a group of the campers joined Ong for a trip to the Bay Area. They went on a tour of the Warriors practice facility and ran drills with some of the coaching staff. It was a “dream come true,” for the kids.

The global influence doesn’t stop there. Klay Thompson, AKA #ChinaKlay made a persona for himself when with his popularity surging in the country and his shoe deal with the Chinese brand Anta.

And I mean, check out the turnout when he arrives:

[RELATED: Bronny James jokes Steph is his dad]

Steph made a trip to Japan last summer with hopes of growing the game of basketball across the world, and the moment he got off the plane, it was chaos, but in the best way.

He, along with the team, make an impact everywhere they go. 

Warriors' Rick Welts shares funny story of being mistaken for Joe Lacob

Warriors' Rick Welts shares funny story of being mistaken for Joe Lacob

Warriors team president Rick Welts went to Croatia for vacation in the summer of 2018.

Wearing a Warriors hat in a restaurant resulted in a waiter saying, "Curry, yeah!" Welts recently explained to Daniel Brown of The Athletic.

Soon thereafter, other employees began to believe they were in the presence of Warriors owner Joe Lacob.

“He just started screaming to his co-workers there, ‘Joe Lacob! Joe Lacob! Joe Jacob!' " Welts told Brown. “I was waving, ‘No, no, no!’ but I gave up.

"So, I impersonated Joe Lacob — and got really good service from this really tiny restaurant in Croatia.”

Now that is a savvy play from a seasoned veteran.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Welts has helped turn the Warriors into a global brand, which is why the franchise elected not to change its name to the San Francisco Warriors when they relocated from Oakland to Chase Center.

"What's happened in the interim is the Warriors, with the success we've had on the floor, have now become the team that everyone knows around the world," Welts told Warriors radio voice Tim Roye in April 2017. "More Steph Curry jerseys are sold around the world than any other player in the NBA. More Warriors merchandise than any other team in the NBA.

"So now, I think we've done a 100 percent reversal, saying, 'You know, we have a lot of equity in this Golden State name and it really means something around the world.' "

And that includes Croatia.

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