Let’s face it, despite the back-to-back Finals victories, Kevin Durant is just going through the motions. He doesn’t play with the same intensity as he did his first year with Golden State. Part of it could be from aging, but honestly I think that he is just tired of doing the same thing constantly, he might want to leave Golden State this offseason.
Many would in turn reply to this claim and state, “No way! He has the life; KD is making money, winning championships, and on one of the most dynastic teams in NBA history, there is no way that he would leave!”
Well, part of that is true. I believe that Durant left Oklahoma City to win more titles; however I’m not quite sure that he is happy right now. The problem with Super-teams is that there is no distinguisher between who is the best and gets to take the leader role. Other teammates of his have been with the Warriors longer and already are taking up a lot of the popularity. According to the GoldenStateOfMind website, Stephen Curry’s jersey sales were the second most popular this season — Second only to LeBron James who just left his old team to play with the Lakers, which would cause many people to want to buy his jersey for that exact reason.
However, I think that Curry is the most popular player in the NBA right now. He is the face of Golden State and I really don’t think that there is anything that KD can do to change that. To quote Steve Kerr in reference to Durant, “He’s the best player in the world” (ClutchPoints). Even though he is considered by many to be the best player in the world right now, he still can’t make it to the top in terms of popularity. That’s simply because he is on a team that has many superstars. If I were Kevin Durant right now, I would be thinking less about money and championships, and focus more on what my legacy would be in basketball history. If he stays with the Warriors, will people think of him differently and/or still give him the credit he deserves? I guess we won’t find out for a while.
Despite this, many teams look like promising landing spots for the reigning champ.
New York Knicks:
In this free agency, what’s most interesting about the Knicks is that they have the potential to bring in two, or maybe even three, NBA Superstars. Right now the Knicks team is full of young talent. Players like Frank Ntillikina and Dennis Smith Jr. are perfect examples of just that. Both of them played well as NBA Sophomores this year, but the problem is that they can be unpredictable at times. This is normal in younger players that have less experience, because in high pressure situations they have been known to lack in the confidence department. With exception to DeAndre Jordan and Emmanuel Mudiay, there is still a need for a bigger presence of talented veterans to join this young roster. A good example of another good player joining a young team was when Paul Milsap came to the Denver Nuggets last year. He was the only player on the team with any playoff experience and yet they still were ranked second in the Western Conference for the playoffs. The Knicks need a player, just like Milsap, that the team can depend on as well as help elevate the potential and talent of the younger guys as well.
KD can do exactly that. He is known for his game-ending daggers and sometimes even shoots with only one shoe on resulting in amazing shooting percentage! Not only does he knockdown shots in clutch moments, but he is also great at moving the ball from one side of the court to another and setting someone up for a sweet look.
Perhaps the most attractive quality of this team is that they have the money and cap space to not only get one superstar this offseason, but they have room for two! That means that on top of a possible KD pickup, the team could land another free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, or Kemba Walker.
The teams with more spots for superstars may look attractive to some players, but at the same time I think that if KD leaves the Warriors it will be to make a bigger name for himself.
Now the Nets are a major candidate to land KD during this upcoming NBA free agency. They are not a big-franchise team yet, so Durant could be eyeing them strictly for his legacy. He might want it so that when people think and talk about NBA basketball in the future, they would automatically associate him as the face of Brooklyn.
Not only can they be attractive because they provide the opportunity for him to be the face of the franchise, but also because they have a rising star on their team: DeAngelo Russell. Currently the 2019 NBA awards have not been given out yet, but the league has released that Russell was chosen as a finalist for the Most Improved Player award. He’s a point guard and would be a perfect compliment to Durant on the court, just like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.
I do know that they would have a little bit of money left over, if they acquired KD, and might be able to spend it on another good player that doesn’t need a max contract. Three players that would fit well in this scenario would be Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, or Klay Thompson, if none demand a max contract. If they do demand a crazy-expensive contract, then all bets are off.
To say the least, Kevin Durant would gel well with any team that has young talent, and might especially enjoy more attention on smaller franchise like the Nets.
Los Angeles Clippers:
Now this scenario is an interesting one. It might just work. Recently Marc Stein, an NBA Insider, found out some interesting information…
‘”Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it. Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that [sic] he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York,”‘ (Deadspin).
I know that we have heard many people speak to the press saying that Durant has talked to them as to what team he is eyeing. He has denied them on multiple accounts, but this one still stands. I can’t imagine how dominant the Clippers would be with KD. I mean, they have their defensive strategy down with Patrick Beverly, ball movement by Lou Williams, Fades from Danilo Gallinari, and knockdown threes all day from Landry Shamet. One problem in this scenario could be that it would be an understatement to say that Durant and Beverly did’t quite get along. Early on, in their playoffs series, both of them received multiple techs during that time. Although, if KD can play with Draymond Green for three years, he can definitely play with Patrick Beverley!
Los Angeles Lakers:
Now, everybody wants to see the image of the King of Basketball and KD together! They were dominant in the all-star game together and could most definitely be dominate the league if they were on the same team. LeBron and KD are similar playing types so technically this scenario is a little more out of the question than others — but it is an interesting one to ponder!
Kevin Durant has always respected Nikola Jokic, in fact, when asked in an interview what he thought of the young stud he said, ‘” He’s going to figure it out at some point and he’s going to be a force for a long time”‘ (DenverStiffs).
Now this is a crazy theory, but Kevin Durant could be thinking right now of a way to prove that he is better than his teammates. Denver was ranked second in the 2019 NBA playoffs and have tons of young talent. They have room for another free agent. A player like KD. He might think that he wants to show his teammates that he is better than them on any team resulting in him joining the Nuggets to beat Golden State in the Western Conference Finals. This is just a thought — but knowing the history of NBA free agency, anything can happen.
In my opinion, I think that the Los Angeles Clippers would be the best spot for Durant. They have tons of players that would work as perfect compliments to his skills and create a monster superteam. He might want to go to the Eastern Conference to shake things up a bit, but regardless I still think that if all of these teams were on Tinder, KD would swipe up 😉