Look, I’m going to be pulling for the Raptors. It’s subconscious, and I really want another team besides Golden State to win. This being said, I think it’s in all of our best interests if the Warriors actually do win this Finals. That is, if you want to see a different team win it next year.
If the Golden State Warriors lose to the Toronto Raptors this year, I think things will *most likely* stay the same for them. Klay Thompson is going to stay regardless of what happens, I think. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are both under contract for next season. There’s even a strong possibility that DeMarcus Cousins could re-sign. So Golden State would essentially just run it back for another season. That is if Kevin Durant stays.
If the Warriors lose the Finals, I think KD will stay. I think he’ll see it as an opportunity to show the world that he’s the best player in the NBA. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder again, and Golden State will probably win it all the next season. What’s the fun in that?
If the Warriors win this year’s title, I think there’s a strong chance KD will sign somewhere else this summer. This will leave Golden State with a roster that’s great, but not the dominant superpower they’ve been for the past three seasons. They’ll have to try to find a replacement for KD. Maybe someone like Tobias Harris would fit in nicely among that lineup. To think of it, Harris would actually be the absolute perfect replacement for KD. But he would be just that; a replacement.
I think there are 4 teams Kevin Durant could sign with this summer that would make sense for him both in a basketball sense and in a brand sense. The first is obviously the Warriors. He’s the best player on the best team in basketball. What else is there to say?
His best option outside of Golden State stays in the golden state. South, in fact. Los Angeles, the city of angels and arrogant sports fans, would make a nice home for Durant. He could live a lavish lifestyle, explore life outside basketball, and play in the Staples Center. For the Clippers.
No, I didn’t say KD will join the Lakers because he won’t. He’ll never join a team with LeBron James on it. Kevin Durant has spent his whole career second. He was the second pick. He’s been the second best player in the NBA behind LeBron James for a while. He’s *arguably* only the second best player on his own team.
It’s no doubt to anyone that the Lakers are a damn mess right now. They have front office, ownership, and team-related drama. The only one that seems like they’ve actually done their job for the Lakers in the past few months has been LeBron James. Besides him, there’s been drama everywhere. KD doesn’t want that type of insane media activity that the Lakers always, no matter how bad, will get. He can go to another team in LA that can give him a much better option without any of the negatives that playing for the Lakers presents.
He won’t have to play under LeBron’s shadow, for one. One thing I’d like to bring up is I’ve been screaming about the Clippers for almost a year now. They’re a sleeping giant. I’d bet everything I have that they get one of the major players in free agency this summer if not two. They have a ton going for them. They have Jerry West, arguably the best executive in NBA history and a key member of the group that assembled the Warriors. You have a Hall-of-Fame coach in Doc Rivers that players like playing for. You have tradable assets like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet, Lou Williams, and first-round picks they could give up to trade for someone like Anthony Davis. Man, can you imagine if they sign Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant then pair him with AD? I mean we’re talking about a superteam like the NBA has never seen.
The other teams that I could see Kevin Durant going to are both in New York with the Knicks and Nets. The Knicks are obvious. Every time a really good player hits free agency, they’re linked to the Knicks even if they have zero interest in New York. I think the case with KD is different, though. He’s genuinely interested in the Knicks from everything I’ve been hearing around the league. I think the Clippers are the most obvious destination if he chose to leave the Warriors, but the Knicks might be the most interesting scenario.
In New York, KD wouldn’t have much to play with. Sure, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson are promising, but going from Steph, Klay, and Draymond to Knox and Robinson is a huge downgrade. I don’t even know if the word “huge” does it justice. I think the only way he goes to the Knicks is if they sign another All-Star level player. Who might this be? Well, like I said earlier I think KD and Kyrie might team up. Yes, this could also happen in New York. However, what I”m hearing around the league is that Kyrie Irving would rather play for the Brooklyn Nets than the New York Knicks. What if the Nets choose to sign Kyrie, and don’t match whatever offer D’Angelo Russell gets from other teams? What if Russell signed with the Knicks? Would this be enough to get KD there? Maybe, but I’m not sure. They could also sign Kemba Walker. I think Kemba would be enough for KD to feel confident about the team he’s going to.
If he doesn’t want to play for the Knicks, then I really think the Nets are a fantastic option. I’m going to let you all know now that I’m a pretty big Brooklyn Nets fan. I’ve followed them for about six years, and before this past season started I felt like they really had something special brewing. If they are somehow able to sign KD and pair him with an already really solid core, the NBA would need to watch out. The Nets would be as good as the Bucks and Sixers. This makes the best sense for Kevin Durant in a purely basketball standpoint. His team would be really good, he’d be the best player in a big city, while also having a guy like Russell who can take over when KD needs a running partner. Head coach Kenny Atkinson is respected around the league and would be a nice fit with KD. Brooklyn is a really good place for Kevin Durant.
So, that’s it. This is why we all should be rooting for the Warriors in the Finals. They lose, they’ll most likely run it back next year with the same group. What’s the fun in that? But if they win, I think KD leaves and the Warriors suddenly become mortal again. I think that’s something that most of us basketball fans would like to see.
Where will Kevin Durant sign this summer? Let me know on twitter @TheTreyinator and let’s talk some basketball.