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How Kevin Durant ended up on the Warriors

How did the best NBA team of all time add the best free agent in years? Let's look back at every twist and turn of Kevin Durant's free agency saga in one place.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It's not often that a former league MVP becomes an unrestricted free agent while in his prime. Other than LeBron James, who's purposely manipulated his contracts so that he'd have the freedom to choose his employer as frequently as possible, it's hard to remember the last player of Kevin Durant's caliber that was truly up for grabs.

That's why Durant's decision to join the Golden State Warriors last summer registered as a momentous occasion. The team that just finished with the best regular season record in NBA history has added one of the league's very best players.

How did that happen? The NBA salary cap spiked from $70 million to $94 million thanks to a surplus of revenue from the league's $24 billion television deal. That unique situation created a world where nearly every team had cap room -- including the 73-win Warriors. Instead of having a handful of teams able to offer a maximum contract, Durant essentially had his pick of anyone. It was the last moment of fortune that propelled this Warriors team to this point.

Ultimately, instead of trying to beat the Warriors, Durant decided to join them. And while there's been a lot of grumbling, Durant and the Warriors ultimately coasted to another NBA Finals rematch with the Cavaliers. Durant is happy with his decision, healthy after surviving a midseason injury, and looking to show the world why he made the right decision. It even sounds like he'll take less money on his next contract to keep the team together.

Below, you will find every rumor involving Durant's free agency last summer. From being "blown away" by the Clippers to meeting with Tom Brady and the Celtics, it's been a wild ride following Durant's decision. Now that we see him as a Warrior, here's how he got there.


July 4: Durant chooses the Warriors

July 3: Durant will reportedly decide between Warriors and Thunder

July 3: Durant expected to announce decision Monday on The Players Tribune

July 3: Warriors still the biggest threat to the Thunder, but they're not sure KD can leave OKC

July 3: Durant talked to Warriors Executive Board member Jerry West, who made a pitch for Golden State

July 3: Durant concludes his final meeting with the Thunder. Now we wait.

July 3: Durant concludes meeting with the Heat

July 2: Durant tells teams he'll decide by July 4

July 2: Durant told the Clippers he won't join them.

July 2: Durant will make his decision within the next 24-36 hours, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

July 2: Durant met with the Celtics for four hours

July 2: Celtics bring Tom Brady along to pitch Durant on joining Boston

July 2: Durant's meeting with the Spurs ends after just two hours.

July 2: Durant was "blown away" by the Clippers' presentation, which lasted four hours.

July 1: The Warriors met with Kevin Durant for over two hours on Friday. Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Steve Kerr, general manager Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob were all present.

June 30: The Thunder met with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City on Thursday afternoon and are in "strong position" for him to return, even as Durant has meetings on Friday

June 30: Al Horford followed Kevin Durant on Twitter, which a lot of people thought meant something even though it probably (definitely) didn't

June 30: A close Durant friend tells The Undefeated's Marc Spears that KD's "90 percent" returning to OKC.

June 30: The Clippers are pitching a "Big 4" scenario to Durant that almost certainly will fair.

June 30: The Thunder hope to meet with Durant both before AND after he hears pitches from other teams.

June 30: KD's meeting schedule: OKC Thursday, Warriors + Clippers Friday, Spurs + Celtics Saturday, Heat Sunday.

June 29: The Lakers will not be getting a meeting with Durant, according to Chris Broussard.

June 29: Durant will meet with the Warriors on Friday, July 1, and the Spurs on Saturday, July 2, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

June 29: Durant plans on meeting with Thunder one day before free agency begins, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

June 27: The Hawks actually have Durant aspirations, according to ESPN's Marc Stein

June 27: Carmelo Anthony told ESPN that he is recruiting Durant for the Knicks and that the two have been "talking."

June 27: The Wizards reportedly believe that they are out of the running.

June 24: Durant plans on meeting with the Thunder, Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Heat and Celtics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

June 23: The Thunder trade Serge Ibaka on draft night for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis. It's a risky move -- but perhaps a move worth taking.

May 12: The Spurs emerge as a serious threat to sign Durant even before the Thunder take out the Spurs in the playoffs.

February 2: The Warriors -- yes the 73-win Warriors -- are named as "significant" front-runners to land Durant should he leave the Thunder.

Nov. 9, 2016: Durant says Wizards' free-agent courtship was "disrespectful."

Oct. 2: After Stephen A. Smith says Durant might sign with the Lakers, Durant calls him a liar.

July 15: "You've got to focus on you," says Durant after LaMarcus Aldridge decides to sign with the Spurs in the summer of 2015.