Even though the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, rumors are still focused on Kevin Durant and his upcoming NBA free agency decision. With the series currently tied at 1-1, Durant’s mind is currently focused on tonight’s game in Dallas. While the Thunder are likely to beat the Mavericks and advance to the next round, it is unlikely that they win the championship this year. Speculation has surrounded Durant and his offseason destination for months, but NBA insiders are now claiming the chance is very real that these playoffs will be his last as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Durant has been linked to the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, Durant could also choose to remain with the Thunder. The problem for Durant is that he has only achieved modest success in Oklahoma City. While they made it to the NBA Finals in 2011, they have not yet won a championship. At 27 years old, Durant is looking to win a title, or two, while he is still in the prime of his career.
In order for the Thunder to win the championship this season, they will have to defeat the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, two teams that are having historic seasons. Assuming Durant and the Thunder fall short, he is going to have an extremely difficult decision to make in the coming months. The Warriors are not going anywhere, and Durant and Russell Westbrook have not proven that they can get it done when it counts most.
While Durant is viewed as the star player on the Thunder, Westbrook often overshadows him. Having another great player next to Durant is important, but he may be looking to join a team that will allow him to truly become the focal point. That will be difficult in Golden State and New York, but Durant could truly become the next great franchise player for the Lakers or Celtics.
In a video posted on ESPN, David Thorpe believes the signs are there that Durant’s time in Oklahoma City is coming to an end.
“My instincts tell me that this is a guy, that both consciously and somewhat unconsciously, is already thinking about what’s next. I just do not see a guy as invested as he otherwise used to be. And, he’s angrier. And he’s disappointed and frustrated. All those things to me, suggest that this is his last run in Oklahoma City.”
Thorpe also says that Durant’s body language reminds him of how LeBron James looked years ago before he left the Cavaliers in free agency. Since Thorpe does not know Durant personally, it is only speculation from his part. Regardless, numerous other NBA analysts, some of whom know Durant personally, have stated that there is also a real chance that he leaves in free agency.
As reported by NBC Sports, Chris Broussard of ESPN heard in January that the possibility of Durant leaving is very real.
“At this point, everything is speculation. When you talk to some executives, a name that has been thrown will shock people – Golden State. Now, this is not something coming out Durant’s camp. There are those around the league that think Golden State is a possibility.”
As USA Today reports, Durant’s mom is claiming that he is “loyal to the Thunder.” While that may be true, the NBA is a business. If Durant believes that another team is offering him a better chance to win a championship, he is going to strongly consider leaving.
Since the Thunder are still alive in the playoffs, it is unlikely that any official news comes out until their season is over. In all likelihood, Durant will not make his decision until the summer. Regardless, rumors will likely continue to link Durant to teams such as the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers. Durant may ultimately decide to remain in Oklahoma City, but all of those teams are strong possibilities.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]