Warriors

Why Max Kellerman believes Kevin Durant still needs to prove greatness

Why Max Kellerman believes Kevin Durant still needs to prove greatness

Most people would agree that former Warriors superstar Kevin Durant -- a two-time NBA Finals MVP -- already is one of the top 20 players in NBA history.

The four-time scoring champion averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks in the 2017 NBA Finals, and followed that up by registering 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game in the 2018 NBA Finals.

"As I've said -- when he joined the Warriors, it didn't prove anything about his greatness," Max Kellerman said on ESPN's "First Take" Wednesday morning. "Any superstar player that joins the Warriors would surely win multiple championships. They had already won 73 games and barely didn't win the championship in LeBron James' finest moment as a basketball player.

"You add Paul George -- you add a lot of guys to that team -- of course they're gonna win. So that doesn't really prove the thing that a championship is supposed to prove about the best player on a championship team. Now he has the chance to prove it."

KD absolutely was incredible during his three years with the Warriors, and took his game to another level as he outdueled LeBron James on the sport's biggest stage.

Yet despite his amazing accomplishments, many people all across the basketball world -- fans, media members, sports talk personalities, etc. -- have diminished what he achieved in a Golden State uniform.

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

Kellerman is speaking for a lot of people who believe winning a championship with the Brooklyn Nets would be a more significant feat for KD. That opinion -- independent of whatever "greatness" truly means -- is understandable.

If the future Hall of Famer is able to overcome his Achilles injury and capture another Larry O'Brien Trophy, that very well could be more meaningful to him. And it -- without a doubt -- would change some of the public's perception of him.

"That proves greatness in a way that he couldn't prove in Golden State," Kellerman said.

[RELATED: ESPN ranks KD's Warriors seasons below three of Steph's]

Once again, that perspective is coherent. It's not outlandish or ridiculous whatsoever.

It's subjective, and everybody is entitled to their opinion.

Hopefully KD fully recovers and gets the opportunity to compete at the highest level again.

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Warriors bizarrely only NBA team with no pending 2020 free agents

Warriors bizarrely only NBA team with no pending 2020 free agents

To say the Warriors had a rough season in 2019-20 is an understatement. The team ended the season with a 15-50 record, and stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson missed almost the entire season with injuries.

They do, however, find themselves alone in one very unique category when it comes to the current roster.

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

Thirteen players under contract, all of them extending into next season. But the Warriors didn't begin the season that way. This was the Golden State roster when training camp opened in September of 2019.

From the current roster, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney all entered the 2019-20 season with multiple years remaining on their contracts.

Jordan Poole, Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall were 2019 NBA Draft picks and received standard rookie contracts with multiple seasons of team control.

Andrew Wiggins had three years and almost $100 million remaining on his contract when the Warriors acquired him at the NBA trade deadline.

[RELATED: Ranking Warriors' five best free-agent signings since 2000]

Ky Bowman signed a multi-year extension with Golden State in February, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. Bowman originally started as a two-way player for the Warriors and spent time with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League as well.

On the same day Bowman's contract was converted to a standard NBA deal, big man Marquese Chriss also signed a reported multiyear extension with the Warriors. Chriss had been a two-player for a few weeks after being released to make way for Damion Lee, who himself was converted from a two-way player to a full-time member of Golden State's roster.

Local product Juan Toscano-Anderson began the season in Santa Cruz with the Warriors' G League team, playing 31 games there this season before being signed to the Warriors' roster in February on a multi-year deal.

Finally, Mychal Mulder impressed Golden State's front office enough during his 10-day contract that the Warriors inked him to a multi-year deal in an announcement on March 10, just a few days before the league's coronavirus suspension.

Trades could open up roster spots for Myers and the organization, but free agency won’t be much of an issue this offseason, as all 13 of the players on the active roster are locked up for next season.

NBA free agency: KD among Warriors' five best signings since 2000

NBA free agency: KD among Warriors' five best signings since 2000

It's been four years since the Warriors broke NBA Twitter with the news that Kevin Durant was signing with the team as a free agent.

The 2014 NBA MVP just had been eliminated from the previous postseason by Golden State while playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a thrilling series.

Durant won two NBA Finals MVPs and was vital in bringing two titles back to the Bay Area. This signing got us thinking, who are the best free-agent signings the team has made over the franchise's history?

We kept it specific to the last 20 years, so you won't be seeing Rick Barry or Sarunas Marciulionis among the five selected. We also eliminate sign-and-trades from the equation, as these aren't the same as standard free-agent contracts. So icons like Andre Iguodala and David Lee also don't make the cut for this list.

So who will be included?

CLICK FOR WARRIORS' BEST FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS OF THE 21ST CENTURY