1. The Warriors dynasty could be over
Cheering for the demise of the Golden State Warriors demise is one thing, but nobody should be happy it went down like this. Losing Kevin Durant for all of 2019-20 to an injury that’s ended the careers of many Hall-of-Famers is daunting enough. Adding Klay Thompson’s ACL tear on top of it is just downright tragic, the likes of which we’ve never seen in NBA history.
Considering the stage it happened on, and the fact that both were impending free agents heading toward inevitable max paydays, the injuries become even more traumatic. They denied basketball fans of an even more thrilling matchup, sure, but to witness the potential end of a dynasty unfold like this should be sickening whether you’re a Warriors fan, casual observer or Dubs hater.
Losing both Klay and KD for next year is a loss for the NBA in general, but it could be the herald for the end of a dynasty. If not for Draymond Green’s Game 5 suspension in 2016 and these two calamitous injuries in 2019, the Golden State Warriors might have swept the Finals for five straight years. Instead, they may have to settle for five Finals appearances, three titles and punting on the upcoming season.
Granted, any team with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on its roster will still be competitive. However, with Curry being 31, and Green being 29 and declining athletically, there’s no time to waste. The Dubs aren’t blowing this thing up, which means re-signing Klay and KD and hoping they can get back on track in 2020-21, fully healthy, may be the best-case scenario.
However, it’d be understandable to balk at such a proposition. That’s banking on KD returning from a notorious, career-ruining injury at age 32, Klay recovering from an ACL tear after he turns 30, Curry and Draymond being willing to be patient until then, and the organization being okay with millions of luxury tax payments for such a risky gamble. And that’s to say nothing of the threat other teams now pose in free agency.
Maybe the Dubs keep both of their star free agents, but they’re definitely not contending for a title next season. In fact, they may struggle to make the playoffs at all, given how much money is tied up in the team’s stars and how many rotation players will be hitting free agency. Good luck getting other role players to take discounts in the Bay area now that Klay and KD are on the mend.
The Golden State Warriors could very well be back in the 2021 NBA Finals, but that’s assuming they have a fully healthy Klay and either KD or another 3-and-D wing who can play defense. This team’s weaknesses were already growing more apparent during this playoff run, and they won’t be much easier to hide with two of their Big 4 on the mend and everyone two years older by the time they’re ready.
Much like the Warriors’ final game at Oracle Arena, the end of this NBA dynasty wasn’t supposed to happen like this.