Kevin Durant agrees to join Golden State Warriors; Thunder fans react by burning his jersey

OAKLAND, Calif. – Kevin Durant decided his best chance for “growth” means leaving his beloved Oklahoma City behind for a big move out West to join the Golden State Warriors to play alongside Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

In the most anticipated move of the NBA off-season, Durant announced his decision Monday on The Players’ Tribune. His deal can become official Thursday, when free agents can sign their new contracts.

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READ MORE: After playoff collapse, Kevin Durant’s future with Thunder in doubt

Independence Day, indeed.

“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,” Durant said in the article.

“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.”

And the 2015 champion Warriors, who squandered a 3-1 NBA Finals lead to lose to LeBron James and the Cavaliers last month, know how tough Durant is in any lineup: They rallied from down 3-1 to beat Durant and the Thunder in a seven-game Western Conference Finals.

Oklahoma City Thunder fans furious about Durant’s decision to leave for Golden State reacted by burning his #35 jersey

Golden State applied a full-court press to land Durant. On Friday in the Hamptons, the Warriors sent owner Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers, coach of the year Steve Kerr, Curry and Thompson to meet with the 6-foot-9 superstar.

The 2014 MVP and four-time scoring champion led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012, and to the Western Conference finals in four of the past six years – and he’s only 27. He recovered from a broken bone in his right foot that cost him much of last season to post one of the best years of his career.

Golden State Warriors Player Comparision | PointAfter

Durant met with the Thunder, Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat once teams could begin negotiating with free agents.

“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,” Durant said. “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.”

READ MORE: DeMar DeRozan staying with Raptors

He should be a good fit in Golden State’s varying lineups and gives All-Star Draymond Green another physical body and rebounding presence.

The Warriors topped the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark and set the NBA regular-season wins record with 73 victories and led the league in scoring.

The Warriors have been one of the league’s deepest teams, and look to be that way again.

Durant has been a difficult opponent for the Warriors —; he averaged 30 points per game against them in this year’s Western Conference finals and dropped a career-high 54 points on them in 2014.

Adding Durant will give the Warriors another chance to chase a title after the bitter feeling that was this season – a record-setting year that ended without the team’s biggest goal being reached. Durant has had to carry much of the scoring load for the Thunder over the years, but having Curry, Green and Thompson on the floor with him should open up space he hasn’t had during his tenure in Oklahoma City.

But the Warriors will have to move players to make room for Durant.

They will have to make a decision on the future of restricted free agent Harrison Barnes. Center Andrew Bogut, meanwhile, removed all references to the Warriors from his 桑拿会所 page and is expected to be traded to clear room for Durant. His 桑拿会所 page now features a photo of the 7-footer in an Australia jersey.

Losing Durant to a top rival will sting for the Thunder.

“Kevin’s contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound, on and off the court,” Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett said in a statement. “He helped the Thunder grow and succeed in immeasurable ways and impacted the community just the same.

“We thank him for his leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma.”

Calgary Stampede ramps up security after 2015 stabbing, severe weather, terror attacks

The Calgary Stampede is only three days away and crews are busy setting up and preparing for over a million visitors who are expected on the Stampede grounds.

With all the extra traffic in the city and dense crowds on the ground, Stampede officials are working with police to ramp up security efforts.

READ MORE: City looks to Calgary Stampede for boost in tough economic times

Bag checks will be in place at the front gates where staff will check to make sure weapons and alcoholic beverages don’t make their way onto the grounds.

Bag checks will be in place at the front gates during Calgary Stampede 2016, a program that has been ramped up since it started in 2010.

Sarah Offin / Global News

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    Paul Burrows, the manager of security services for the Calgary Stampede, said there will be additional officers set up in the midway area this year following a stabbing last year that sent three men to hospital – one in critical condition.

    READ MORE: 3 men taken to hospital after stabbing at Calgary Stampede

    The Stampede grounds are patrolled as a separate police district, with officers pulled from some winter programs, including school units. That means officers won’t be pulled from patrols on the streets where Calgarians and visitors can expect to see extra check stops.

    An extensive CCTV surveillance system is set up at the park, covering 240 acres on the Stampede grounds.

    READ MORE: ‘Not about the 10 days’ – Calgary Stampede looks to year-round event space

    Terrorist attacks that have taken place around the world in the last year have also motivated officials to step up security. While the attacks in Paris, Turkey and most recently in Baghdad have targeted large groups of people, security officials said they have no reason to believe the Stampede is a target.

    “Obviously with everything going on around the globe recently it’s something that we’re very aware of, and we’ve been doing a lot of analytical work to ensure that we have the information that we need,” Insp. Leah Barber with the Calgary Police said. “At this point we don’t have any evidence to suggest this a high-risk target.”

    Watch below: Stampede President Bill Gray joins Global Calgary with details on what’s new and exciting for Stampede 2016.

    Officials will also be closely monitoring the weather. Last year the Stampede was caught off guard by an intense storm that pelted visitors with marble-sized hail and sent people scrambling for cover.

    “We do get surprised by things. The entire city was surprised by the sudden hail storm we had during last year’s event. That came with no real warnings, I believe, from people actively watching that. That’s weather in southern Alberta. It’s wild,” Paul Burrows, manager of security services for the Calgary Stampede, said.

    Recent weather events, including a number of tornadoes (two confirmed in recent days near Ponoka and Hardisty), is also cause for concern.

    Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of recent storms in Alberta

    Timelapse shows stormy skies over Calgary


    Timelapse shows stormy skies over Calgary


Ponoka residents clean up after storm packs serious punch


Flash Storms rips into Calgary, bringing hail and flooding


Central Alberta residents clean up after vicious storm rips through


Central Alberta residents clean up after vicious storm rips through


Organic farm outside Calgary loses entire harvest in hail storm


Violent storm passes through southern Alberta


Viewer video from southern Alberta storm

A weather monitoring system was set up at the Calgary Stampede in 2009 with detailed forecasting of a 10-by-10-square-kilometre area that covers the grounds.

While officials say they can’t foresee everything, they will be watching the sky, the ground and the streets of Calgary closely for anything any threats during Stampede 2016.

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