There is growing speculation that Kevin Durant – who is, what, the third-best player in the world? – may play for the Golden State Warriors next season. Yes, Durant, an unrestricted free agent, could bolt Oklahoma City to play for the best team in the NBA.
It’s a tantalizing possibility.
Howard Beck’s response? Slow down.
“I think it’s extremely premature to get too caught up in that what-if,” the Bleacher Report senior NBA writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Look, great reporting by Adrian Wojnarowski, as always, and (it’s) also not the first we’ve heard of this possibility. Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has been writing about this possibility for a year-and-a-half, two years – that the Warriors would have the desire, the ambition, the kind of leadership that would pursue something like this and that they have the ability, with some maneuvering cap-wise, to possibly make this kind of run. Certainly they’re on attractive option for everyone.”
The Warriors are an NBA-best 44-4 and are threatening to break the record for most wins in a season. Steph Curry leads the league with 29.4 points per game.
Kevin Durant is third with 27.2.
Still, Beck isn’t getting too excited just yet.
“We’re months away from free agency,” he said. “We’re months away from knowing whether the Thunder are a viable contender themselves. We’re months away from knowing whether the Warriors are going to repeat. There are no frontrunners. As the Yahoo! report made very clear, Durant is not indicating any leanings about whether he would leave Oklahoma City at this point. So it’s premature to think he’ll go, and if he is going to go, then it’s premature to think about where he would go to.”
The Thunder, it is worth noting, are 37-13. That’s the third-best record in the West and the fourth-best record in the NBA.
That’s not bad.
“My premise, my read on this all along has been – and it’s unchanged – you have to make a compelling case for Durant to leave because he’s got Russell Westbrook and (Serge) Ibaka,” Beck said. “So Durant and Westbrook together are two of the top five players in the NBA. You’ve got to beat the Westbrook/Ibaka collaboration, and Washington can’t do that. The Lakers can’t do that – unless they’re bringing someone else in with Durant. There aren’t that many suitors out there that could actually give Durant an improved surrounding cast. The Warriors clearly are a team that could do that.
“But then you raise the question to Kevin Durant,” Beck continued. “‘All right, do you want to go piggy-back on a team that’s already won a championship and, by that point, maybe even two?’ We saw what LeBron went through in 2010 when he dared to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. What would people say if Kevin Durant went to go join an established champion? So there’s a lot of things to think about here and it’s way, way off.”