Now that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been embarrassed losing a best out of seven series to the Warriors after having a 3-1 game lead – it’s time to talk about the future. If you read every tweet posted on twitter, Kevin Durant is expected to meet with half of the NBA in the off-season. Durant is the NBA’s hottest free agent piece in this year’s market and for good reason. Durant is a former MVP, a four time scoring champion and a seven time All-Star, since his rookie campaign in 2008 – of which he won rookie of the year honors as well.
Durant has had a little more of an “attitude” accompanied by his game in the last two years or so, but it seems to suit him well. He seems to have a more competitive drive and his goal to win an NBA Championship (or championships) have become quite clear.
Some thought that if the Oklahoma City Thunder won the Western Conference, it would solidify Durant’s ties to OKC. Now, after a game seven loss, any and everything is up for discussion. Durant has publicly said that he needs to talk with his inner circle to see all of his options, but in the meantime let’s help him out.
1. New York Knicks – They have Kristop Porzingus, who Durant has admitted to being a fan of, but is that enough for Durant to want to join this media circus led by the weirdest of all team presidents in the league, Phil Jackson? K.D. has established his brand in Oklahoma City, so the bright lights and all that come with New York City, won’t mean a thing to him.
2. Golden State Warriors – Remember this rumor earlier this year? If Golden State frees up the cap-room, they might be a team who Durant would consider. . . something just tells my above average intelligence K.D. is not down with the old “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mantra. . .
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Apparently the Sixers want to win games now, and no longer tank for draft picks. They want to make a pitch to K.D. and intrigue him with all the young talent they’ve acquired over the years. Problem is, K.D. has seen how a good franchise can maintain their position and still acquire talent without tanking. He has a nice blend of young and veteran players on OKC, so why’d he trade that for a bunch of “wet behind the ears, lottery picks.”
4. Washington Bullets – Yes, we call them the Bullets here, not the Wizards. This team disappointed not only their fans, but even casual NBA fans this season. Playing alongside John Wall isn’t as appealing as playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Washington is really banking on the “home-coming” feel. It’s the same feel, that brought LeBron James back to Cleveland. The problem is, LeBron won his championships elsewhere “just in case” he doesn’t win them in Cleveland – and also LeBron was pretty much promised total control of the team. K.D. doesn’t have any of those things in his back pocket.
5. Miami Heat – This one is “kind of” intriguing but only because of Pat Riley, who no doubt “can sell water to a whale,” to quote Jay-Z’s lyrics from “U Don’t Know”. . .
There are a few other teams with rumored interest like the Celtics and the Spurs, but smart money says that Kevin Durant with sign a two year deal with OKC, with a second year opt out clause. As mentioned earlier, he wants a championship and this team has the tools to deliver that championship trophy on Durant’s mantle. Other than Westbrook, the pieces that make up the Thunder are intriguing in Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, and Andre Roberson. It also would seem as if this team now has the right coach in Billy Donovan. If you exclude the ridiculously unrealistic options of San Antonio and Golden State – every other option for Kevin Durant moves him a step further from his goal of winning an NBA title.
The league is designed for star players to unite and win championships. He won’t go anywhere else and find a better star to work with than Russell Westbrook. Him and Russell have a great understanding of each other’s games and it would seem that they have a great respect for each other. K.D. and Russ need to figure this thing out for themselves because if they separate, the road to winning a championship only becomes harder for each of them.
Smart money says Kevin Durant gives it at least another year with Russell Westbrook. Maybe they both decided to stay in OKC for the long haul, maybe they decide to leave together and go somewhere else — maybe they decide to split up and start anew. . . Whatever the outcome, expect the media to be all over Durant’s travels in the off-season and in the end, expect a lot of teams to be left with nothing but a hefty dinner bill after Durant decides to stay put with the Thunder and Russell Westbrook.