Uh, I never said that. That’s not who I am. Whatever this thing entails I’m willing to take it head on, but I’m…I’m not that kind of person. Like I said the two most important things to me, is being around great people, and having fun playing basketball. So all the other stuff that comes with it, being who I am and being in this position it’s not really for me, not really what I’m concerned with. So, I never said that obviously you know, you could say that about any player in this position.
-Kevin Durant when asked about his approaching free agency and if he will go through with the apparent ‘tour’ Lebron took to listen to other team’s pitch, when he was a free agent.
With that being said, let the beginning of the 2016 off-season and all that comes with it begin.
— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) June 1, 2016
Personally, I like that quote by Durant and Ibaka. Though logic would point points it’s finger to KD staying in OKC for at least one more year, and maybe for good, there are still people who think KD will be packing his bags either here this summer or almost exactly a year from now. That quote told me that Kevin isn’t a huge fan of the spotlight. He doesn’t want to handle this situation like it’s a free vacation to premier cities in the U.S. He would much rather sit down with himself and family and actually think about him for once. Being the nice guy throughout his career seemingly, and especially this season, letting people say what they want, asking him the same question in a different way week-after-week. He just wants to take care of and do what’s best for him, his family, and his career.
Kevin is a smart man, very smart actually and seems to have a pretty decent amount of common sense. Most NBA experts expect KD to stay here in Oklahoma City for good, but definitely at least one more year. If he does decide to leave this year, one would think he has some sort of hidden hatred for Oklahoma City, and would rather take a huge pay cut, than to stay with a top three NBA team, that was one game shy of the NBA Finals. The same team that showed huge growth this season after failing to make the 2014-2015 playoffs.
If he were to go with the best choice financially and for this Thunder team, he would sign a two-year deal with a player option after Year 1 that allows him to return to free agency in July 2017 with his counterpart, Russell Westbrook.
For those that are searching for a huge decision, preceded by a 30-minute television episode titled KD’s Decision, like Lebron James did six years ago you are going to be disappointed come next month. If he kept it all short term this summer, the ball would be back in Oklahoma City’s court. They’d have to do what they can to upgrade their roster in order to make yet, another playoff run and another solid pitch for Kevin to stay. Also, just like everything else, press conferences and many commercials, this would mean Kevin and Russell get to make their decision together next summer.
Financially, it makes even more sense like I stated earlier. If Kevin was a free agent again in 2017, after his 10th season, he’d make a projected $35 million, in comparison to the $25.9 million he’d make this summer. If he decided to go to another team next summer, due to the salary-cap increase, he’ll be looking at around $100 million starting in the 2017-2018 season whether he decides to stay in OKC or leave. That’s what’s logical, so all the focus should start to shift to next year’s free agency and give this one a rest.
For those that don’t understand those terms, ESPN’s Marc Stein may be able to simplify it for you.
If he plays next season on a short-term deal, Durant would be eligible for a five-year max deal with Oklahoma City in July 2017 that would potentially top $200 million, or a four-year max with another team in the $150 million range.
The Wizards, Celtics, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Spurs, and Warriors are the main teams that voiced their interest in Kevin and none of those make much sense. Maybe just one, the Warriors, but even then I don’t see Kevin being a second, and potential third option on that offense. He’s a top-tier caliber type of player and I don’t see him being anyone’s sidekick and don’t see him wanting to jump on a team with a bunch of other superstars, and win a championship the easy way.
The Wizards wouldn’t be ideal either and if he wasn’t from Washington D.C. they wouldn’t even be on this list. That’s the only major thing that team can hold on to. I don’t see him leaving Oklahoma City for his former coach Scott Brooks either. I’m not sure how much of a factor that plays in a player’s free agency decision, but I can’t think of many instances where a player followed a coach. Also, the Wizards didn’t even make the playoffs this year, with a (41-41) record, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference the last thing Kevin wants to do is waste 2-3 more years rebuilding a team.
Also, other than the Warriors, what team has a larger upside than OKC? I really don’t know if they do, because they are on the verge of losing a significant piece to their puzzle in Harrison Barnes. The Thunder have three big men that proved to be one, if not, the best front court in the league in Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka, a top-two point guard in the league, Russell Westbrook and a new coach that’s proven to be a pretty good one in Billy Donovan.
The grass may appear greener on the other side, but as Kevin moves closer to it, he will realize that the quality of the grass doesn’t match up to Oklahoma City’s.