The Oklahoma City Thunder got absolutely steamrolled by the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, 124-92. For years, it seems like the media and many who watch and pay attention to the NBA have held the idea that the Thunder are the new team to beat in the Western Conference and that the golden age of the San Antonio Spurs is all but over. While the Golden State Warriors may be the new team to beat out West, the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard have allowed the Spurs to not just stay in the thick of things in the Western Conference, but it has allowed them to excel to the point where they went 67-15 in 2015-2016 with a 40-1 home record. Simply put: the Spurs aren’t going anywhere despite the lack of production/minutes from Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili in 2015-2016.
With Kevin Durant’s contract set to expire following the 2016 postseason, KD will have to make a difficult decision. Durant will have to choose whether or not he wants to stay in OKC and have to go through the gauntlet of San Antonio, Golden State, Portland, and the LA Clippers every season just to get to the NBA Finals, or leave and go to an Eastern Conference team such as the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, or Miami Heat and seemingly do battle with LeBron in the Eastern Finals every season? Or maybe, Durant will try and go to a Western Conference team such as the Lakers or Warriors?
Here are KD’s options and an analysis of where he would fit in best:
Once Miami makes a run to the finals , we will land Kevin Durant. Stay Woke. pic.twitter.com/ZqG8UdPYzR
— HL (@TheRealHL_) April 13, 2016
Hmm, a key free agent having the ability to go play in South Beach with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh (pending Bosh’s health condition), seems familiar doesn’t it? Anyway, as we’ve seen before, the city of Miami by itself is enough to attract a free agent to want to go play for the Heat. Add in two superstars like Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and young talent such as Hasan Whiteside (assuming Whiteside stays in Miami) and the Miami Heat become more than just a possible landing spot for Kevin Durant. The weather, the talent on the court, and the ability to play in the Eastern Conference and have an easier route to the NBA Finals all make Miami one of, if not THE, most popular places for Kevin Durant to go this summer.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) April 30, 2016
Despite being unable to win a championship thus far in his career, the Oklahoma City Thunder give Kevin Durant a great chance to win. Why? Because they have Russell Westbrook, who is arguably the most exciting, versatile, fast, and best all-around point guard in the game of basketball not named Steph Curry. Both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are superstars and the two have formed some great chemistry during their time spent together in OKC. Kevin Durant obviously has the right to consider other options, and he may think that being in the same conference as San Antonio and Golden State gives him a disadvantage (it does), but passing up the ability to play with Russell Westbrook seems frivolous, unless of course, you get the opportunity to play with D-Wade and Chris Bosh.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 30, 2016
Danny Ainge and the Celtics are building something pretty special right now. Years of building up draft picks and several big trades with Brooklyn and Phoenix have allowed Boston to put a team on the floor that is very exciting and has a lot of potential for the future with Isaiah Thomas and Brad Stevens becoming quite the tandem. Ainge’s efforts were not enough to get the Celtics out of the first round in 2016, but people around the NBA, especially the game’s superstars, have to admire what the Celtics have right now, especially after Boston’s last-second victories at Cleveland and Golden State this season. If Kevin Durant wants to go to a team where he will be able to shine, be adored by the fans, and have a bright future, the Celtics are it. Ainge and company have the money to pay him and the talent surrounding Durant will give him a good chance to win, especially in the lackluster Eastern Conference. However, the Celtics do not have a Russell Westbrook and without another superstar, it may be difficult for Ainge and company to lure Durant to the Bean.
— Knicks Fan Zone (@Knicks_FZ) April 21, 2016
It’s almost every professional athlete’s dream to play in a market like New York: passionate fans, every moment of your life is in the spotlight, big city living. The ability to go play with Kristaps Porzingas and Carmelo Anthony, as well as the ability to live in New York, provide Durant some pretty solid reason to want to go play for the Knicks, but the future promise to win a championship isn’t anywhere near the promise Durant would have by staying in OKC or going to either Boston or Miami. The Knicks are a mess right now both with the talent they put out on the floor and inside their front office. An addition like Kevin Durant would surely change things to some degree, but the Knicks still likely would not be a legitimate title contender due to their lack of an established head coach and lack of talent outside of ‘Melo and Porzingas.
— VICE Sports (@VICESports) March 19, 2016
It’s been rumored that Kevin Durant may try to join Steph Curry and the Warriors in free agency. Obviously, Steph, KD, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green would be an almost undefendable team. This would clearly be the best place for Kevin Durant to go if he wants to win, but not the best place to go if he want’s to be the team’s superstar and have the ball in his hands in the final seconds of a tied game.
— Silver Screen Roll (@LakersSBN) February 22, 2016
A new head coach in Luke Walton, young talent in D’Angelo Russell, as well as the ability to live in LA and play for a storied franchise like the Lakers are all very good reasons for Kevin Durant to go to the City of Angels this offseason. However, if Durant goes to LA it will be up to him to help develop D’Angelo Russell and he will be the heart and soul of this team unless the Lakers were also able to land Al Horford or another key free agent. At this point in his career, Kevin Durant wants to win. Going to a rebuilding franchise coming off of its worst season in decades and one that is full of young guys may not be what Kevin Durant wants/needs right now.