Kevin Durant to stay with Golden State Warriors while Jerry West joins Los Angeles Clippers

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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is set to make a new contract deal and stay with the Golden State Warriors, but the new NBA champions did lose a legendary player on Monday.

Multiple reports said Durant, the Most Valuable Player of this month’s NBA Finals triumph over Cleveland, will opt out of his contract but re-sign with Golden State in a money-saving move under NBA salary cap rules.

But the Warriors lost Jerry West, a member of the team’s executive board who on Monday was named a consultant to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 79-year-old Hall of Fame guard was an iconic star for the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s logo is designed around his silhouette.

Durant, who joined the Warriors last July after finishing his contract with Oklahoma City, plans to decline his player option for the 2017-18 campaign and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to reports.

The 10-year NBA veteran would then re-sign with the Warriors, the move enabling the team to have more money for contracts with forward Andre Iguodala and other players.

Durant was to be paid about $28 million in salary next season, but he will take about $4 million less than the maximum deal he could have been paid.

That will better enable the Warriors to keep together the championship roster that includes Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Georgian center Zaza Pachulia and reserves.

Durant won his first NBA crown and helped Golden State claim a second in three seasons by averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, which the Warriors won over Cleveland in five games.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry becomes a free agent, but has taken less than maximum money in recent years to set up an expected five-year deal worth $205 million. Curry made $12.1 million last season.

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NBA Finals: Kevin Durant-led Golden State Warriors beat Cleveland Cavaliers to win title

Sport360 staff 13/06/2017

Sparked by 39 points from Kevin Durant and 34 from Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors won their fifth NBA title Monday, beating Cleveland 129-120 to capture the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons.

Golden State took the best-of-seven series 4-1, reclaiming the throne they lost to the Cavaliers a year ago. The Warriors completed a 16-1 playoff run, the best post-season win percentage in NBA history.

It was the first career NBA title for Durant, who left Oklahoma City last July to join the Warriors amid expectations he and Golden State would fill trophy cases.

"I couldn't sleep for two days," Durant admitted. "I was anxious. I was jittery. I just wanted to put it all out there. "We battled. But we did it. We're champions. And we're celebrating on our home court." Durant, who was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, became the first player with five consecutive 30-point performances in the NBA Finals since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000. The Warriors also won titles in 1947 and 1956, when the team was based in Philadelphia, and took the crown in 1975 and 2015 after moving to the San Francisco Bay area, but had never clinched a title at home. "These guys are so gifted and committed to each other and so unselfish," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It's a combination of talent and an unselfish nature." LeBron James scored 41 points to lead the Cavaliers. He also had 13 rebounds and eight assists, giving him a triple-double average for the finals, an unprecedented feat. But James, in his seventh consecutive playoff series and eighth overall, fell to 3-5 in the championship round. Kyrie Irving added 26 points and J.R. Smith 25 in a losing cause. "Lebron and Kyrie, I've never seen nothing like them," Durant said. "LeBron was the only person I've looked at that could look me eye to eye." 'JUST WANT TO DO IT AGAIN' After dropping last year's title to Cleveland making the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history from a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors vowed not to stumble again. "We've learned from everything we've been through to bring (the trophy) back home," Curry said. "I'm just proud to be part of something special and I just want to do it again." Excitement was high for the contest. Two courtside seats reportedly went for $133,000 on the resale market while other confirmed resale prices for pairs of seats were at $82,000 and $90,000. James hit a layup to open the fourth quarter and pull Cleveland within 98-95, as close as the Cavs had been in the second half after trailing by 17 in the second quarter. Golden State responded with a 10-3 run, Durant scoring five as the Warriors stretched their margin back to 108-98. Kyle Korver's 3-pointer pulled the Cavaliers within 108-102 but dunks by Durant and Andre Iguodala boosted Golden State's lead to 110-102 and the Warriors kept Cleveland at bay, a Durant driving layup stretching Golden State's edge to 118-106 with five minutes remaining. From there, the Warriors defense stiffened and the Cavaliers congratulated the Warriors as the finals seconds ticked off the clock and the crowd went wild. "This is a great group of guys, great community, great fans," Durant said. "I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates." WARRIORS SEIZE LEAD EARLY After leading from start to finish in game four, the Cavaliers began aggressively Monday as well. Irving and James turned back-to-back steals into impressive tone-setting layups as part of a 16-3 Cleveland run for an 20-12 edge, James hitting 4-of-5 for 10 points at the start. The Cavaliers made 15 of 24 shots in the first quarter to seize a 37-33 lead, James and Irving each scoring 12 points in the period, as did Curry for Golden State. Source: AFP

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Warriors put Spurs on brink of elimination

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Stephen Curry (L) and Kevin Durant (R).

Kevin Durant scored 19 of his 33 points in the third quarter Saturday as the Golden State Warriors took a stranglehold lead in the NBA Western Conference finals with a 120-108 blowout of San Antonio.

“I love where my game is at,” Durant said. “I work hard every day I know what I can do in this league. I just try to put my head down and go.”

The Warriors now lead the Spurs 3-0 in the best-of-seven series with game four set for Monday in San Antonio.

The victory appears to put the Warriors on a collision course to meet the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals.

No NBA team has ever come back to win a series after losing the first three games. The Cavaliers are up 2-0 in their NBA semi-final series and have an impressive 247-192 scoring advantage against the Boston Celtics, who lost star player Isaiah Thomas to a season-ending injury on Saturday.

Stephen Curry tallied 21 points for the Warriors, who are now a perfect 11-0 in the post-season to match the best start in NBA playoff history. They have won 26 of their past 27 games.

Curry expects to see a different Spurs team on Monday night. “Game four is going to be even tougher,” he said. “It is a chance to close it out and they are going to come out swinging.”

The host Spurs trailed by nine points at the half in game three and came within 69-65 two minutes into the third quarter before Golden State seized command with another incredible scoring performance.

It was the Spurs’ chance to claw their way back into the series, but by the middle of the fourth quarter at AT&T Center arena, they appeared spent.

“They did a great job and competed really well,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Golden State. “Every time you look up, you are playing against four all stars. We turned it over too much and we have got to make more shots.”

San Antonio players began settling for shots early in possessions and missed the majority of them as the Warriors compiled an 18-point lead in front of a displeased San Antonio crowd of 18,700.

“Fans want to see a buzzer beater every game,” Durant said. “It is not like that sometimes. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

The Spurs’ hopes were severely damaged earlier Saturday when the team announced that star forward Kawhi Leonard would not play in game three because of a sprained left ankle.

Leonard originally injured it in game five of the second round against Houston and reinjured it in the series opener against the Warriors.

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