Kevin Durant has reiterated time and time again how much he loves Oklahoma City and playing for the Thunder. However, with LeBron James’ decision to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, many have wondered whether his move would spark a trend of some sort.
And since Durant seemingly can’t escape being associated with James, he too was asked whether he would consider a move back to his hometown Washington D.C to play for the Wizards.
“It’s been talked about,” he said, when quizzed about the topic. “Everybody’s asked me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it.
"So I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff. But I just tell everybody that I’m here in Oklahoma City. I love it here. Who knows what will happen. I never close the door on anything.”
Some may view him saying, “I never close on anything” as some sort of sign or hint of a move. Although, odds are most people see it as him simply being a rational, sensible and smart. After all, why would he publicly commit himself to a decision that is still two years away? A lot of things could happen to change his mind between now and then.
OKC could have won a championship (or two) by then. Or Washington could be really, really bad and a million miles away from championship contention. Who knows?
But one thing is certain: there are a lot of factors that could alter his decision. Therefore, definitively siding one way or another now would only open him up to a huge backlash of criticism, should he have a change of heart.
Although having said that, maybe there are some red flags.
Durant added: “It’s great to feel wanted. Guys taking four or five trips to see teams. You got to see what’s out there if you’re a free agent. We’re playing in a league that’s so powerful. You can impact so many different people. You have to look at all your options.”
His envy of the players going through the free-agency process could be somewhat worrying to Oklahoma City Thunder fans. It’s certainly a different tune to the one he was bellowing out (or not) a few years ago when he quietly signed a five-year extension (without an early opt out clause). There wasn’t any fuss. No speculation about his future or any media frenzy about where he would be playing his basketball. He just announced it on Twitter and we moved on.
Meanwhile, LeBron had us all guessing in the lead up to an hour-long ESPN special titled “The Decision” – even though it did feature quite a few elements dedicated towards a good cause.
Perhaps after a couple of years in which it has felt like OKC regressed rather than progressed, Kevin Durant is having doubts. Following a run to the 2012 NBA Finals, the Thunder have only come up short in the past two years.
Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies steam rolled by in the second round after Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury. And this year, they were knocked out in the Western Conference Finals by the eventual champions the San Antonio Spurs – though it has to be said, they were nowhere near their championship-winning form.
So maybe Durant has a right to be frustrated. Heck, if he was, no-one could blame him individually. He has done all he can to continue improving to be a well-rounded player and leader. It’s just that he hasn’t always had help.
Essentially a two-man team offensively because head coach Scott Brooks more-or-less gives Durant and Russell Westbrook the ball and says, “Make something happen.” While that may work on a few occasions during the course of a regular season, it’s hardly the formula to winning championships.
Having said, even if Brooks isn’t an offensive guru by any stretch of the imagination, it would be unfair to place all the blame on him. Sometimes, the supporting cast have simply failed to produce and the team has been forced to rely on the offensive exploits of their two stars.
Nevertheless, the summer of 2016 should be an interesting one. Don’t forget, LeBron will also be involved after signing for only two years.