Will it be the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic or Phoenix Suns?
All these teams share one thing in common: they have the cap space to sign former NBA MVP Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent following the 2015-16 season.
Averaging 27 points and seven rebounds per game for his career, Kevin Durant transcends basketball in the smoothest possible ways. In the words of my sports idol Stephen A. Smith, “Durant can pull up from 30.”Other than Dirk Nowitzki, what other player, with his height can handle and shoot the lights out of a gym? This is the reason teams are awaiting his services and will do anything to put him in their uniform.
Kevin Durant would be crazy to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, if he does, there are five teams that make the most logical sense for his next basketball destination.
I am probably one of few who think the Lakers have a chance to land the superstar forward. At first sight, you may think the only thing the Lakers have to offer is nothing but financial security. With building blocks in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, how could you look at a situation so bleak? Yes, the Lakers have a long way to go in regard to competing for a NBA championship. However, Durant has the power to make this rebuilding phase shorter for the Lakers.
Here is a question that I pose. Does Los Angeles use more than one basketball on offense? I do not see Kobe passing the ball while on the court.
If nothing else, don’t underestimate what Pat Riley can do.
With only six players on the roster for next offseason, in combination with the television deal kicking in, the Miami Heat should not be ignored as an odds-on favorite to land Durant’s services.
This is a team with nearly a clean slate in cap and Pat Riley throwing the rings on the table, trying to influence Durant to come ring chasing. The only question is how would the Heat fill out the rest of their roster. After all, Hassan Whiteside is still unsigned as of now. If Miami is able to bring Durant to South Beach, watch out Cleveland hopefuls.
In Kevin Durant’s hometown, there is something special brewing. With a strong backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal, the emergence of possibly Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter Jr. and Marcin Gortat, Washington could slide Durant in at small forward and not lose a step.
The Wizards can offer Durant the opportunity to play in his hometown, while also providing him with a team that can grow with him. The 26-year-old forward could become the focal point for an offense that showcases John Wall’s ability to slash and slice through a defense and Bradley Beal being a spot-up shooter. The frontcourt would be a major question if Durant decided to play for the Wizards. Will the Wizards choose to keep Gortat? His $11 million salary will only escalate through the 2018-19 season.
Next season, the Wizards will have to show they are really a major contender in the Eastern Conference. Anything lower than 50 wins and a trip to the NBA playoffs will be a major disappointment.
If they take steps back due to the departure of Paul Pierce, Washington might not have a strong case to bring Durant back home.
Surprised that I actually included the Pistons on a “good” list? With Stan Van Gundy at the helm, you cannot count anything out. Van Gundy boasts a career record of 403-258, showing he actually excels at the NBA level. However, the fit for Durant does not stop here.
A reunion with Reggie Jackson may not be bad in this case. Jackson recently signed a five-year, $80 million deal this past offseason, (who knows why he got that much money), holding down one of the backcourt spots for the Pistons. Andre Drummond is a budding star at the five position, but it gets murky from here.
Can recent draftee Stanley Johnson show promise in his rookie year? Will Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finally break out? If those two do not show progress, I do not see how Durant would see Detroit as a likely destination for him.
Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant in The Big Easy? That would be an insane combination.
A combined $24 million (contracts of Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson) will be coming off the books for New Orleans this offseason. If one more contract comes off the books, the Pelicans will have the money to sign Durant.
There is no analysis needed here. Anthony Davis’ defensive tenacity, his ever-growing offensive repertoire, combined with Kevin Durant’s ability to produce buckets in a matter of minutes, this would be a huge one-two punch.
If Kevin Durant actually lands in southern Louisiana, just change the name to N’awlins Pelicans.
If I had a magical crystal ball, I would say Kevin Durant re-ups with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City’s roster is stacked at seemingly every position. Thus, I do not see him leaving for a better situation.