The Kevin Durant sweepstakes of the 2016 NBA Offseason is a lot like the Powerball; you can try, you can cross your fingers and hope, but deep down you know some jerk from Oklahoma will probably win it anyway.
NBA Free Agency begins this Friday, and this season, it’s all about Kevin Durant. For the past few years, the media has been hyping up Durant’s potential free agency, and now that it’s finally here, put in your earplugs, because there’s about to be a whole lot of noise. It was initially announced last week that Durant would meet with 3 teams: The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Golden State Warriors. As the weekend progressed, 3 teams suddenly turned into 6 (maybe 7?) as the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will reportedly sit down with the 27-year old former league MVP and state their cases. To make matters even more confusing, it is also being reported that Carmelo Anthony is trying to recruit Durant to the Knicks as well. The truth is, by the time July 1st gets here, the number of teams in on the Durant sweepstakes could be well over 10.
Look, it’s fun to speculate. I could write a feature-length story about each of these teams and how Kevin Durant would fit with their current roster. I could talk about how deadly he could be with the Warriors, and how much they’d have to give up to get him. I could go on about how much he would change the dynamic of the Boston Celtics, and how he would be the first major free agent to ever sign with the team in their storied history. It’s fun to think about these things, and over the next few days, people will. However, in the end, it doesn’t matter because the chances that Durant leaves Oklahoma City this offseason are slim to none. Guaranteed.
Despite losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in one of the most demoralizing ways imaginable, the Oklahoma City Thunder still give Durant the best chance to win a title next season. In order for Durant to join the Warriors, nearly half their team would have to be scrapped, and that’s not just no-names. Bringing in Durant would mean the departure of players like Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and potentially even Shaun Livingston. It is much more likely that the Warriors would go after a second-tier star player like Dirk Nowitski or Al Horford, both of whom are more realistic options than Kevin Durant. The Thunder were minutes away from going to the Finals, and who knows what they could’ve done if they made it. Durant said that his choice will be a “basketball decision”, and if that means he’s looking for a place he can win, he should look no further than home.
Over the next few days, we will hear a lot about each of these teams and their respective pitches to land Durant. We will learn way more than we needed nor wanted to know about Durant, like whether or not KD is the kind of guy who likes city nightlife, or if he prefers to stay in a small market. We will hear every possible storyline from his meetings, what the body language was, what their pitch was, how long the meeting was, the list is endless. It’s okay to watch all of this and take notes, but just understand that in the end, the chances he actually leaves OKC are very, very small. The media knows this, but it’s not like they’re going to ignore this story. It’s way too damn interesting.
The Loser’s Corner
I think we need to rename the Washington Wizards the Washington Lizards, because they definitely take the L on this one. Remember in 2013 when they were the presumed destination for Kevin Durant this offseason? Every move they made was done in order to lure Durant, and now they probably won’t even get a meeting with him. After a dreadful season and an uncertain future ahead, it’s gotta sting for the Wizards to sit and watch the guy you put so much effort into out talking to other people… Wait, we’re still talking about basketball, right? I feel like I’m writing a relationship advice column all of a sudden. I know you’re heartbroken, Washington, but don’t worry! At least you have the Nationals!