NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and his upcoming free agency have long been looming. A lot of Oklahoma City Thunder fans don’t want to believe that it could possibly happen, but there is a chance that their star forward could be walking away and heading to a new home in the NBA. According to ESPN, if Durant does leave, then there is a chance that the Thunder look towards Chandler Parsons as a potential replacement.
When Kevin Durant says that he’s not worried about free agency, we should all believe him because there are plenty of options for employment for the 6’10”, 230-pound forward. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are hoping that Durant can turn their fortune around. The juggernaut known as the Golden State Warriors are said to be interested in adding the All Star to their plethora of talented players in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
While it would be surprising to see Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, it should not be shocking. Ask Cleveland Cavaliers fans how they felt when LeBron James initially walked away from their franchise to take his talents to South Beach. Since the world must go on, the Thunder should start looking into potential replacements for Durant, as difficult of a task as that sounds.
First and foremost, it is not easy to replace a legend. When Michael Jordan decided to retire from the NBA and pursue a career in MLB, the Chicago Bulls didn’t even try to find a replacement. There’s not a lot of guys that were going to be able to produce like what Jordan did for the Bulls. Instead, Chicago opted to utilize Pete Myers, a fringe player who had trouble latching onto a team, as their new starting shooting guard.
Since the Oklahoma City Thunder is unlikely to find themselves another Kevin Durant, they should look for the next best thing possible. Chandler Parsons has improved tremendously this season, and the Dallas Mavericks have benefited from it greatly. He’s not on the same level as Durant, but he’s not too shabby of a replacement because he can create plays and fit in with Russell Westbrook, who would clearly become the face of the Thunder franchise at that point.
At 6’10”, 230 pounds, Chandler Parsons is capable of playing small forward and power forward. More than likely, the Oklahoma City Thunder would slot him at the small forward position to replace Kevin Durant. The power forward spot still would belong to Serge Ibaka, who has another year left on his contract before having to make a big decision about what he wants to do in free agency.
Even if Chandler Parsons starts at small forward, expect to see the Oklahoma City Thunder utilizing him plenty of times at the power forward position. The former Florida Gators star has proven to be quite effective in small ball lineups, where he can use his dribbling and play-making abilities to break down bigger opponents. If opposing NBA coaches put a smaller player on Parsons, then he can exploit that mismatch as well.
As good as they are, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have not been able to deliver an NBA Championship to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s hard to imagine the combination of Westbrook and Chandler Parsons having a better chance. However, replacing Durant with Parsons does enable the Thunder to avoid going into a long period of rebuilding and missing the NBA Playoffs.
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