Golden State Warriors welcome Kevin Durant

Image 1 of 9

The Golden State Warriors on Thursday introduced the team's newest player as it hopes to solidify its ranks during the next season.

The event was held at the Warriors practice facility in downtown Oakland and Durant posed with his jersey after he took questions from reporters. He was applauded several times during the event.

The Warriors had openly courted the free agent, who signed a 2-year, $54.3 million contract.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala went to the Hamptons last Friday, to persuade Durant into leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, and joining the Warriors.

Durant also received a phone call from NBA legend and Warriors executive, Jerry West, about the benefits to Durant's career if he signed with the Warriors.

Durant played 9 seasons with the Thunder, winning an NBA Most Valuable Player award, and being selected to 7 All-Star games.

Thursday's news conference is expected to include Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, and General Manager Bob Myers.

Hours before the announcement, the Warriors put up a large sign welcoming Durant at Oracle Arena. But to fit Durant under the salary cap, the team has lost several players, such as Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut.

The latest to leave is reserve guard, Leandro Barbosa, who has agreed to a 2-year, $8 million deal with one of his former teams, the Phoenix Suns.

Durant's decision to join the Warriors earlier this  month 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.

"Thats crazy!!!! KD in GSW????" Wizards center Marcin Gortat tweeted. "(Are) they gonna score 200 points a game?"

The Warriors already were a super team before one of the league's most unstoppable scorers decided to leave Oklahoma City for the Bay Area. Golden State won the championship in 2015, rolled to a regular-season record 73 victories last season and came within one game of back-to-back titles when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Now they have added the player who nearly eliminated them a round earlier. 

Though not everyone is anointing them next year's champions.

"Everyone is so hyped up on the matchup problems on the offensive end? They still gotta come down the other end," Pistons All-Star center Andre Drummond tweeted. "Not a very big team."

 Durant's decision immediately rekindled the discussion about stars leaving teams to chase a championship elsewhere. Durant spent his first nine seasons in Oklahoma City. 

While there, he helped lead the Thunder to the Western Conference finals four times and to the NBA Finals in 2012, where they lost to the Heat, another super team formed when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami.

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.

"If you can't beat um, join um," Clippers forward Paul Pierce tweeted to tweak Durant.

When James left Cleveland for Miami, stars such as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson were critical of the decision to join forces with players he had competed against.

"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.

"Somebody beat you! And you go there... ?" Nurkic tweeted. "Superstar not doing that man."

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 Associated Press contributed to this report.