In the 2016 NBA free agency, Kevin Durant became the most hated NBA player in Oklahoma City after he decided to leave the Thunder to join their Western Conference rivals, the Golden State Warriors. Before Durant left, the Thunder were considered as one of the biggest threats to the Warriors in the Western Conference. However, his decision take his talent to Golden State made the Warriors almost unbeatable in the last two seasons.
As of now, the Warriors are still the top favorite to win the 2019 NBA championship. However, everything could change if Kevin Durant makes a surprising decision next offseason. In an appearance on Jeff Goodman’s Good N Plenty podcast, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports entered the possibility that Durant may consider reuniting with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City in 2019 NBA free agency.
“The relationship between Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City was never really torched,” Mannix said, as transcribed by Larry Brown Sports. “Oklahoma City always said the right things about him, and they always did right by him publicly. And the relationship between Durant and Russell Westbrook, while not being great by any stretch, is probably — I think you’d agree — as good as it’s been since he left Oklahoma City. So all those things are gonna be factors and make me think that Oklahoma City will at least be on his list of possibilities [in free agency] next summer.”
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The contract Kevin Durant recently signed with the Warriors is a two-year, $61.5 million deal with a player option that will enable him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he decides to leave the Warriors, the Thunder would surely love the idea of having him back on their roster. As Mannix noted, Durant’s relationship with the Thunder and Russell Westbrook is not as bad as most people think.
Durant’s departure in Golden State will dramatically change the NBA landscape. His absence will not take away the Warriors’ title contender status since they still have the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. However, it will definitely make them vulnerable in the Western Conference.
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant would be teaming up once again with Russell Westbrook, together with another superstar, Paul George. The Thunder may have failed to make a huge impact with their “Big Three” last season, but Durant is not Carmelo Anthony. His two-year stint in Golden State proved that Durant can still establish an impressive performance, even playing alongside other superstars, giving the Thunder nothing to worry about if they succeed in acquiring him in 2019 free agency.