Dark Horse Options For Kevin Durant
Dark Horse Options For Kevin Durant
by Aaron Kann
With the salary cap rising dramatically in 2017 due to the recent television deals signed by commissioner Adam Silver, almost every NBA organization has a vast amount of money to spend. The more money in cap room, the better the players you may sign. By far, the best free-agent available on the market for the 2016 NBA offseason is former MVP and Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant. Durant will transform whichever team he chooses into a championship-caliber squad; he’ll make that much of an impact. Say Durant chooses to leave Oklahoma City… Here are a few dark horse suitors for the four-time scoring champion.
The Boston Celtics finished with the second worst record in the NBA the season before Kevin Durant was drafted in 2006-07. Danny Ainge–Boston’s General Manager–really wanted Durant with the No. 5 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but settled with Jeff Green as Durant went No. 2 overall. Ainge saw the potential in Durant, as he swore he’d be better than Greg Oden taken No. 1. Now, almost ten years later, Ainge has a chance to sign him. Durant and Isaiah Thomas could be a perfect duo; with the cap room Boston has, if they sign Durant and add another marquee name, Ainge could turn Boston into an instant championship team. Durant would have a blast rolling through teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs bracket until the eventual Cleveland Cavaliers matchup. The change of scenery may be a great decision for the “Slim Reaper.”
After shocking the sports world by landing Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, miracle worker Phil Jackson may not be finished. Kevin Durant knows that Rookie of the Year runner-up Kristaps Porzingis is special and will be good for a very long time. Durant told ESPN, “He’s a skilled guy and I think we’ve gotten away from enjoying skilled players in this league. We get so many players that are athletic and big and strong, but he’s a skilled player.” Jackson could use Kristaps Porzingis as bait to lure Durant to New York. Oh, and don’t forget his buddy and Team USA teammate, Carmelo Anthony. Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Kristaps Porzingis would easily be a Playoff team. Bring a big-man, such as Joakim Noah into the mix, and Phil Jackson would compile one of the greatest offseasons in league history.
The San Antonio Spurs used to be a team that wouldn’t feel the need to land star free-agents to breakup the winning bond of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. After the aging trio needed some help a year back, San Antonio inked a deal with former Portland Trail Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Can the Spurs sign the number one free agent two years in a row? They are located 15 minutes from Kevin Durant’s former college and clearly have a winning formula. However, their cap room is not as large as Boston’s and maybe have to sacrifice a valuable piece. Though signing Durant sounds all fun and good, Durant’s playstyle would certainly change (ask LaMarcus Aldridge about that). Winning is nice, but winning differently is something Durant may not be too fond of.
If you know legendary head coach/owner Pat Riley by now, you know the basketball genius will do everything in his power to bring a big name free-agent to his organization. But, Riley would have to do some magic to sign Kevin Durant. The Miami Heat have $45 million in cap room–but wait for it– along with two departing free-agents stars in Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade. Wade would have to pull a Tim Duncan and sign a massive hometown discount for Miami to keep Whiteside and sign Durant. Durant, Whiteside, Wade, and Chris Bosh (if healthy) sounds special. With Pat Riley still breathing, never count his team out in free-agency.
Other Teams The Washington Wizards are Kevin Durant’s hometown team, but are pretty much out of the question because of failed expectations all year. The Houston Rockets haven’t declared heavy pursuit of Durant, but teaming up with former teammate James Harden may interest him. The Portland Trail Blazers are in a similar situation to grab Durant as does Boston–a young roster, a lot of cap room–but haven’t shown signs of pursuing Durant. Wherever Kevin Durant ends up will shock the entire NBA world. People around him feel he’ll stay in Oklahoma City; others feel he’ll be on the move. The 2016 NBA offseason will be special, folks