For the last 2 years, everybody and their mama, has been sold on the idea of the ultra talented Slim Reaper, Kevin Durant, bolting from the Oklahoma City Thunder in Summer Sixteen through free agency.
Given the Thunder’s performance against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals, and the chance to continue playing with one of the other 4 best players in the league, Russell Westbrook, I say not so fast with the Durant exit theories. Well, for at least one more year.
Here’s why. Where can Durant play next season that gives him a better chance at a championship than OKC? Let’s examine a couple.
The Golden State Warriors are rumored to be interested in signing Kevin Durant and are reportedly willing to break up their team to do so. Break up a championship team that set the single season NBA record for wins and is favored to repeat as champions? Probably not. The Warriors have great team chemistry and to blow it up in the midst of a potential dynasty would be kamikaze. The San Antonio Spurs are also interested in signing Durant, to play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge. The Thunder easily dispatched the 67-win Spurs last night to win the series, seemingly extinguishing this idea. Let’s face it, can you really envision Durant in San Antonio? And then there’s the Washington Wizards. There’s no doubt KD could transform them into a contender in the weaker Eastern Conference. He’d be the certified superstar that the Wizards (and many others) need to be taken seriously. Throw in the hiring of Durant’s former coach, Scott Brooks, and the fact Durant grew up in the area, there’s a case for the Wizards. They’ve been the popular choice amongst those who believe Durant will leave OKC. But, there are durability concerns with the high-octane backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Still, there’s intrigue there.
The Thunder will contend as long as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on the floor. And their success this postseason could entice Durant to stay for at least one more year. They’ll have limited cap space, but enough to sign a contributor. Players such as, Seth Curry, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, and Brandon Jennings, could bring the supplemental firepower they are lacking.
Kevin Durant could opt to sign a one-year deal with Oklahoma City and return to free agency in 2017, which is also the summer Russell Westbrook will become a free agent. Do not underestimate the fact that these two have been running mates for 8 years and have grown up in the NBA together. They cannot do much better than each other as far as dynamic duos go.
And for all we know, they could actually like each other and enjoy playing together. Just a thought.