A main storyline that has been trending all season is the upcoming free agency of superstar small forward Kevin Durant. The former MVP and scoring champ is a top five talent in the NBA, and is hitting the open market for the first time in his career. Durant, along with Russell Westbrook, form best tandem in basketball. Durant has been the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder since he was drafted but his days in the Sooner State.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors were prepared to make room for Durant. The Western Conference are serious destinations for Durant, as they are both squads contending for titles. They join the Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and of course, the Oklahoma City Thunder as potential suitors for the Slim Reaper.
Nobody knows where Kevin Durant is going to go and he’s been extremely tight lipped on the subject, not giving any hints about where he could land. But let’s take a look at his potential fits on each suitor.
If Durant winds up with Golden State, he’ll join an already deadly roster. The trio of him, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would give teams nightmares. The three point shooting on that team would be unstoppable. The thought of the defending champs, and the current favorites to win an NBA title this year, adding a top five talent is scary. Durant will obviously get a ton of money, but key players like Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezili will want pay raises. But if Golden State is to pursue Durant, they’ll have to let them walk or try and trade them. Stephen Curry is also underpaid at right around $12 million for the next two years, and he’ll join the club of deserving a max deal. If Durant wins up with Thompson, Curry and Draymond Green, I don’t think they would ever lose a game. He wouldn’t be THE feature guy in Oakland, playing alongside Curry, and that’s probably one of Durant’s priorities. There’s been much discussion as to whether he’s happy with his current situation with Russell Westbrook being a bit too shot-happy.
The Los Angeles Clippers have yet to get over the hump with their current roster. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have been only good enough to get Lob City to the second round of the playoffs. They’ve needed help on the wing, even with the addition of Paul Pierce, and adding Durant would provide both a need and a ridiculous amount of skill. But adding Durant can’t happen unless they make a move. Yesterday, news broke that the Clippers would be willing to trade Blake Griffin in order to get Durant. Griffin is currently on the shelf following an incident with a member of the Clippers staff. With the Clippers actually playing better without Griffin, he may become expendable. Durant would be the guy in LA, and he would join the Lob City magic and probably get them over the playoff hump.
As for the other LA team, the Lakers have been linked to Durant for quite some time. He’s a marquee talent, so obviously the Lakers are looking at him. He would join a young core that includes D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, and would immediately be the go-to option on this roster. He would help turn the franchise around as they transition from the Kobe Bryant era. The nightlife in LA would certainly attract any player, as would the celebrities that consistently pack the Staples Center. However, the Lakers don’t seem to be a favorite because they likely wouldn’t win right away with Durant being the only established star. However, he could act as a recruiter to get more big names to enjoy him in the big city.
The Washington Wizards may be a surprise to some people, but they have been preparing for Durant for a while. They have recently been looking to free up cap space and have been offering center Marcin Gortat in trade talks. Durant would join John Wall and Bradley Beal in D.C. if he decided to go back home to the D.C area. He went to Oak Hill in Virginia and would certainly love a return trip home. Washington might be playing their way out of the sweepstakes because of their poor play this year. The trio of Wall, Beal and Durant would be fun to watch on offense and in the fast break. Beal and Durant would give floor general John Wall two great options to pass to in the fast break or in the half court. They could have the best offense in the league with that dynamic trio.
And of course, the final option for Durant would be to stay in Oklahoma City. He’s obviously a fan favorite and has spent his whole career with the organization. OKC has a great opportunity to win a championship with the core of him, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter. Him and Westbrook are the best duo in the game and they work better than people think. He’s been the main guy and has a great supporting cast, making the Thunder a top candidate for Durant. He’s settled in Oklahoma City and getting up and moving would not be easy on him or his family, which is why I think Durant stays with the Thunder.
Regardless of where Kevin Durant lands, he’ll make that team a threat to win a championship or at least make the playoffs (looking at you, Lakers), he’s that good of a player. He’ll be the hottest commodity in free agency by a mile, and all eyes will be on him once the season ends. Don’t expect Durant to say much about his process in the coming months, as he’s always been a quiet yet motivated player. But with taking in all the factors of a championship caliber roster, money and being the go-to option, I think staying in Oklahoma City is Durant’s best bet.
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