There are the types of players who look for a million reasons to leave. There are also those who look for every possible reason to stay.
Hopefully Kevin Durant is of the latter category.
If it hasn’t been clear, I am of the belief that Kevin Durant needs the Thunder as much as they need him. Leaving just wouldn’t be the right decision for many reasons.
After blowing a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, it is now time for Durant to decide on his future.
The 6’11 superstar told the media after the heartbreaking, game seven loss that he hasn’t yet thought about his impending free agency, and that he will take his time to make a decision.
Championships are a top priority for Durant who has yet to claim his coveted first title, and hasn’t been to the NBA Finals since 2012.
Running to an easier situation such as joining Golden State or San Antonio however just wouldn’t be right, or have equal value to a title in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have never one a title, winning a championship in OKC would make Durant an instant legend.
Winning as a second or third fiddle with the Warriors or Spurs just doesn’t carry the same weight. Quiet frankly, it would be a cop out.
You can’t beat them so you join them? That would set worse with me than when Lebron left Cleveland.
When Lebron James left Cleveland, he left an incompetent front office that threw out the likes of Mo Williams and Antwan Jamison as second and third options. The roster let Lebron down.
Durant was not let down by his teammates or management. General Manager Sam Presti surrounded Durant with three legitimate bigs in Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, and Serge Ibaka. Not to mention a fellow super star in Russell Westbrook.
Speaking of the all star point guard, many believe Westbrook would be one of the main reasons Durant would choose to leave the Thunder.
Opposite to contrary belief, Westbrook isn’t holding Durant back. Yes he can get out of control and often become a liability at the point, however Westbrook isn’t the ball hogging, egotistical player that people like to label him as. He isn’t James Harden, and he isn’t Kobe Bryant. In fact, Russell Westbrook finished second in assists this past season.
Kevin Durant doesn’t need Westbrook to create plays for him anyway.
One issue that I have come to notice is Durant’s passive attitude towards Westbrook on the court. With Westbrook already being an overly aggressive player, Durant needs to demand the ball.
Game seven was the perfect example of Durant stepping aside and deferring to his teammates. Heading into the second half, Durant had the same amount of shots as Andre Roberson.
That simple can’t happen.
If I were a Thunder fan, I would much rather see Durant take 30 shots than Westbrook. The difference in efficiency is not close. Durant is the superior scorer.
Without a historic performance from Klay Thompson in game six where the shooting guard dropped 41 including a NBA playoff record eleven three pointers, the Thunder would be playing in the NBA finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kevin Durant’s best opportunity to win a title is in Oklahoma City. Boston, Washington, and Los Angeles will all make a big play for 35, but none of those rosters are ready to compete for a title like the Thunder are.
The only reason OKC was defeated by the Warriors was simple math. Three is greater than two. Allow Presti to add a few three point shooters and the Thunder will be set up to make a deep run next yar.
I fully expect Durant to sign a two year deal with the Thunder with an option to opt out after one year. This would allow him to make the big guaranteed money.
That would also allow Durant to line his free agency period up with Westbrook, who will become a unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017.
If Durant left, what would he be running from? His team did not let him down, if anything he let the team down.
Durant would only be running from himself.