Hoop Diaries with Jeremy Fitch
By Tim Cockes
Kevin Durant will become a free agent in July 2016. Just like LeBron James in 2010 and 2015, the topic of what team Durant will choose to sign with has been and will continue to be a heavy topic of discussion. The answer to what team he will go to is actual simple: we don’t know. If anyone said they knew that James was going to the Heat that summer they were either lying or Brian Windhorst. Durant has refused to discuss his free agency until it is upon him, but many sources have said that how the Thunder finish this season will play a huge factor in his decision to leave or stay. Here is a breakdown of the likeliness that Durant has for signing with some teams:
New York Knicks: The Knicks offer the chance to play for a great basketball city in New York and the opportunity to play in the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden. The Knicks will be looking to hire a new head coach in the offseason and there has been talk of hiring Durant’s former coach Scott Brooks to try to lure him to come and play for them. Although these opportunities will be tempting, I don’t think the Knicks currently have a roster that will be able to provide Durant with his main goal of title contention.
Washington Wizards: Speculation about Kevin Durant during his hometown team and teaming with talented point-guard John Wall has been going on for over a year. Before this year, the probability of this happening was a lot higher. The Wizard’s current struggles and underachievement may be the deciding factor in Durant’s decision to pass on his hometown team. However, I’ll never rule out the chance of player wanting to play for his hometown.
Houston Rockets: The fact that the Rockets are a team with two superstars will always to discuss if Durant would take his talents there. Yet, the fact that there superstars are two of the most unlikeable people in basketball (my opinion) and there apparent chemistry issues will most likely keep Durant from even considering this option.
Lakers: The Lakers have a franchise history unlike most teams. L.A. is a great place to be a basketball star and the Lakers have a roster full of young talent that could be tempting if Durant wanted to play in L.A. Yet, being the biggest star under the brightest lights isn’t what is important to Durant wants considering he is already a star in a smaller market now. The Lakers could be option if Russell Westbrook decides that he wants to play in Los Angeles again when he is a free agent in 2017. This is an interesting idea, but we have no idea what the likelihood of this would actually be.
Heat: The Heat will have plenty of cap space that they could use to recruit Kevin Durant and a proven winner in Dwyane Wade. The health of Chris Bosh could be a factor in this decision and Hassan Whiteside will want a new contract. However, don’t count out the influence of Pat Riley as he could convince Durant to join the team the same way that he did for LeBron James.
Clippers: The Clippers have a great roster complete with three-point shooters, defensive anchor DeAndre Jordan, and floor leader Chris Paul. Kevin Durant would probably play the small forward for their team and fill a spot that they have been trying to fill for a long time. It’s unknown if Durant would want to play for the Clippers or want to play with another forward who needs the ball to score in Blake Griffen. The biggest problem that the Clippers would have with this is the same problem that they have now, team chemistry. This could be an interesting fit and could happen depending on Durant’s willingness to play with the current roster.
Warriors: The Warriors already have the most deadly offense and one of the most efficient defenses in the NBA. Adding Kevin Durant to their current roster who almost be unfair. I don’t want to jump to conclusions because they may have to let go of some lesser players to add Durant, but if they added Durant to go with Curry, Thompson and Green they would have the best roster for an NBA team in years in terms of pure offensive firepower. I wouldn’t guarantee championships, but it would be feasible for them to win three or four championships in a row. Reports say that the Warriors are currently divided about whether to pursue Durant or not due to their already established team chemistry. If I had to guess, the warriors might have the best chance of any team to get Durant outside of the Thunder.
Thunder: In my opinion, the Thunder have the best chance to land Durant right now. He clearly enjoys playing with Westbrook and may not want to break up what they worked to achieve. The Thunder’s chances to win Durant may be based on how they do in the playoffs this year. If the Thunder perform well in the playoffs I think Durant will give serious thought to staying in his current situation unless presented an offer he can’t refuse.