As you know, it's almost free agency time in the NBA.
Free agency means teams will have the opportunity to add and retool their rosters, and as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News recently reported, Golden State’s loss in the NBA Finals was a wake-up call, and the team is looking to add more star power to its roster.
So who are the Warriors going after? Kevin Durant.
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Why Durant? Because not only is he easily the most coveted name on the market, but the four-time scoring champion also gives the Dubs the best chance to dethrone LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Many people have criticised this possible move because it could disrupt the Warriors’ chemistry, but there are some pros for them should they be able to rip Durant out of Oklahoma City.
Although Golden State lost in the Finals, Klay Thompson still believes the Warriors are the team to beat.
“It was very disappointing just because we know how good we are,” Thompson said. “We feel like we're still the best team in the world, and we let that slide.”
It's hard to justify such a bold statement when they just became the only team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals, but the addition of one of the league's elite small forwards, who averaged more than 28 points and eight rebounds per game this season, would almost instantly legitimise Thompson’s views.
KD leaving Oklahoma City for Golden State would also eliminate any threat the Thunder once were to the Warriors, leaving San Antonio as the only true test for them in the Western Conference. One threat is always better than two.
Luckily for the Warriors, reports say if Durant decides to not re-sign with Oklahoma City, his top choice would be to end up in Oakland. However, what would be good for the Warriors might not be good for the league.
The best part about Durant possibly staying with the Thunder is it would keep the NBA exciting.
If he went to the Bay Area, the Western Conference would likely become like the Eastern Conference, with the same team making the Finals every year. There wouldn’t be a good reason for the casual fans to tune into the regular season or even most of the playoffs.
Don’t forget what happened the last time the Warriors and the Thunder met in the playoffs. The Western Conference Finals turned into a seven-game battle that we all loved, and that could happen again.
Money wise, Oklahoma City has the most to offer Durant. If he were to sign a two-year deal with the Thunder with the second year being a player option, his next max long-term deal could start at $38.5 million in the first year instead of $27 million if he chose to take a long-term deal with the Warriors or a different team.
However, the Washington native doesn’t seem to be in it for the money. During the introduction of his KD9 signature shoes at the University of Texas on Monday, the 2014 MVP said the decision he makes will be strictly basketball based, but what happens behind the scenes and off the court is just as important to him.
“Who I’m going to be playing with, and the people I’m going to be around every single day, that’s what it’s all about for me,” Durant said. “You tend to hear about the market and the opportunities you can get off the basketball court, but I’m blessed, man, to be making what I make as a basketball player.”
Although jumping ship to a team that just won 73 games in the regular season and came within one game of back-to-back championships sounds appealing, Durant also hinted he could possibly be planning to remain loyal to Oklahoma City.
“I’m doing this in Oklahoma City,” Durant said. “I don’t care about the commercials, I don’t really care about this s---, I just want to hoop. But I got all this being in Oklahoma City, so all that stuff doesn’t really matter to me.”
This isn’t the first time he's pledged his allegiance to the Thunder. During an interview with Revolt TV last March, Durant said he wants his jersey retired in Oklahoma City, citing the likes of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, superstars who have remained with one team throughout their illustrious careers.
“I love it here, man,” Durant said. “I love my teammates, I love the city, I don't really think about anywhere else. I hear it all the time, don't get me wrong, and once you hear it you're kind of like [looks up, thinking]. But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I'm one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.”
The 27-year-old went on to say there is a certain level of pride he feels while playing for the Thunder, and he feels at home in Oklahoma City. A lot could have changed in the last 15 months, but after such strong statements about Oklahoma City, why wouldn’t he want to come back?
Everyone wants the seven-time All-Star and everyone loves him, but only one team can have him, and whether it be for the money, basketball, the people around him or the city itself, staying in Oklahoma City is the best option for Durant and the NBA.
You just have to believe in the Texas product and hope he knows what he's doing.
“It’s an opportunity a lot of people get put in, and I just want to make sure I’ve got everything covered,” Durant said. “Look at everything and figure everything out on my own and with my guys and go from there. I’m not guaranteeing anything, I’m not saying anything, but I just want to make sure I’ve got everything looked at first and go from there.”