Some details from Windhorst on Durant sign and trade on ESPN The Durant sign-and-trade For the past three years, the Golden State Warriors have been teased about owner Joe Lacob's quote in the New York Times about the team being "light-years ahead" of its competition. In fairness, the Warriors generally have been ahead of the game, both on the floor and at the ticket office. However, not this time. The Brooklyn Nets had enough cap space to sign Kevin Durant outright, and there was no specific advantage for Durant to take part in a sign-and-trade deal to help the Warriors out. Nor was it that great an advantage to Nets free agent D'Angelo Russell, who had other teams, including the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves, vying for him, knowing that the Nets would have to make him an unrestricted free agent to complete the Durant signing. As a result, there were a series of squeezes put on the Warriors, a position with which they are not at all familiar. First, Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn't think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant. Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don't have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It's one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently. Also, the Nets requested that the Warriors take on two players, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham, to help clear extra space to sign DeAndre Jordan, who is friends with Durant and new teammate Kyrie Irving. Golden State had to turn around and pay Minnesota $3.6 million to take Napier and Graham off its books. Then it was the Memphis Grizzlies' turn. Knowing the Warriors were salary-crunched because the sign-and-trade triggered a hard cap for them, the Grizzlies used leverage when the Warriors needed to move Andre Iguodala off their books. Iguodala is still a desired player, and given time to flush out a market, Golden State might have been able to trade him and get back some value and save money. But with no time and few options, the Grizzlies treated Iguodala like he was a toxic asset and made the Warriors give up a lightly protected 2024 first-round pick -- when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson might be out of their primes -- plus $2 million in cash to take on the last year of the contact. When it was done, the Warriors had given up two first-round picks and $5.6 million in cash for the right to sign Russell -- a player they might or might not even end up keeping long term -- to a four-year, $117 million contract. It was preferable to losing Durant for nothing, and it might help keep them a contender next season. But after doling out plenty of beatings over the past five years, the Warriors were on the lower ground for a change.