Shortly after an improbable playoff run in which his Oklahoma City Thunder were edged in Game 7 by the Golden State Warriors, free-agent king Kevin Durant is reportedly considering an offer to join the Warriors this summer. According to reports, Durant’s representative, Roc Nation Sports, is holding meetings beginning July 1 with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.
It is no secret that of those five upper-tier teams, Durant has a strong leaning toward Golden State. But why the same Warrior team he and his OKC Thunder went life-and-death with in an enthralling seven-game Western Conference Finals?
According to the The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 2014 league MVP is interested in aligning himself this off season with the team that provides an optimal chance at winning an elusive NBA Championship. Of Duran’t top-five potential landing spots, Golden State can bring the four-time scoring champ closest to a ring.
Though the Warriors hold the dubious distinction as the only team to surrender a 3-1 lead in NBA Finals play, losing to Cleveland in seven games, Golden State still won an NBA-record 73 contests during the 15′-16′ season. For the Warriors, adding a prolific scorer of Durant’s ilk would be the perfect compliment to a team willing to part ways with free-agent small forward Harrison Barnes.
Most importantly, a Durant acquisition alleviates burden upon the oft-injured, two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Curry will turn 29 next season, and has accumulated obvious wear-and-tear on his body throughout his seven-year career. In a historic losing effort, Curry showed a multitude of ill-effects upon his frame in the Finals.
Having Durant in tow would likely extend Curry’s prime — and career — a few seasons.
However, it is also whirring among NBA circles that Durant may prefer re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. This makes complete sense as Durant has played his entire career with the Thunder/Sonics franchise. A decorated career that includes seven-consecutive All Star appearances, 17,556 points and hall-of-fame caliber averages of 27.4 points, 7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per contest.
If Durant were to stay in OKC, he’d be flanked by high-caliber supporting talent: including Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova. Oladipo and Ilyasova, along with prized-prospect Domantas Sabonis, were acquired in a draft-day trade with the Orlando Magic.
Though some Thunder fans have expressed anxiety in Durant’s re-signing with OKC due to Presti’s trade of long-time teammate Ibaka, the influx of return talent should assuage these concerns.
But what about the other Durant front-runners in San Antonio, Miami and Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers? Out of that group, the only plausible threat to lure K.D from the Thunder appears to be the San Antonio Spurs. Durant could potentially place the 67-win Spurs team he helped eliminate from this spring’s playoffs back upon the ultimate pedestal.
A jolt accompanying Durant’s free-agency decision was sent through the sporting world when it was announced by league insiders Durant will have a contract signed for next season by July 9. The 27-year-old will be departing for an overseas publicity tour on that date. Again, the prevailing sentiment is Durant signing a one and one deal with the Thunder, allowing him to opt-out during a cash-lade 2017 off-season.
But in the world of sports, you have to expect the unexpected.
Basketball fans, what team would you like to see Kevin Durant sign with next season?
Update: Kevin Durant has capped the most tumultuous summer of NBA free agency by signing with the Golden State Warriors. Durant signed a two-year max contract with ex-rival Golden State on 7/2/2016.
Thunder Nation is currently stunned in the aftermath of Durant’s decision.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]