OKLAHOMA CITY (AP and KTVU) - Kevin Durant's decision to join the Warriors on Monday sent tremors through the NBA, and players and executives throughout the league immediately started to contemplate how the newest super team would alter the landscape.
"I think it's cool to wake up on the Fourth of July and see this news," Irish Ventura of Alameda said.
Some fans are already using the phrase "the splash family" to describe the talent on the team. The bold move is also spurring bold predictions for next season.
Though not everyone is anointing them next year's champions.
Durant himself spoke out negatively about creating super teams when James made his decision in 2010.
But after the Thunder could never get to the top of the mountain with Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka -- and even though they had the Warriors down 3-1 in the conference finals -- Durant opted to head west.
"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry (Bird), called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said in 2010. "But that's ... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
Denver Nuggets forward Jusuf Nurkic was equally puzzled by Durant's decision.
While Durant has never been too concerned by outside opinions, his decision may also have ramifications on the NBA's collective bargaining negotiations.
During the last lockout, the owners pushed to make changes to the agreement so that teams, especially those in smaller markets, would have a bigger advantage in retaining players. Commissioner Adam Silver has said in the past that those changes were effective, but the influx of new money into the system this summer from the league's new $24 billion television contract, and Stephen Curry's bargain contract that was negotiated when he was struggling with ankle injuries, conspired to give the Warriors enough wiggle room to spend $54 million on Durant.
The league and the players' union can opt out of the current CBA this year, and both sides have been negotiating to try to avoid another work stoppage. One of the biggest talking points Silver has been making over the last six months is the league's continued push for more parity.
The summer is here, and so are the Warriors, who still have work to do.
The Heat went 2-2 in the finals during the James, Wade and Bosh era, including a loss to the underdog Dallas Mavericks in their first season together. When James went back to Cleveland to team up with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers lost in the finals their first year before winning this season.
This time appears to be different, with all four of Golden State's All-Stars aged 28 or younger and squarely in their prime.
And only so much money, as odd as that sounds this summer.
They will also face a crush of attention and many hoping they fail.
The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player -- as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.
I'm from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.
I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization -- the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.