The discussion over where Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant will end up this summer has been hotly debated throughout the NBA season. Durant will be an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can go anywhere that he chooses.
His former teammate Kendrick Perkins caused quite the stir yesterday when he said that he has had discussions with Durant on the topic and that he knows which team the star forward will end up with.
“I won’t be surprised if the discussion happened,” said Bleacher Report senior NBA writer Howard Beck on CBS Sports Radio’s DA show. “I won’t be surprised to hear that Durant is feeling out former teammates, veterans who have been around the league about what do you think of this team or that team. What do you think about me leaving in the first place? I won’t be surprised to hear any of that because I think Kevin Durant is absolutely exploring his options right now.”
The feeling around the Thunder this season seems to be whether or not Durant will leave is based on how far they get in this year’s postseason. However, Beck doesn’t believe that to be the deciding factor for Durant.
“I’m not sure how much of this is tied simply to the results of this postseason although I think it will absolutely have an influence” said Beck. “I’ll tell you this. Starting a month and a half or so ago, the sense I was getting, the sense that team executives around the league are getting, is that Durant is in play. Not that he’s absolutely ready to go or set to leave, but just that he has–is more than seriously considering it. It’s considered a real possibility.”
“The thing that keeps you in Oklahoma is a chance to win championships,” said Beck. “So, yeah, if you make the Finals maybe that changes things. If you win a championship maybe that changes things. If you lose in the second round to the Spurs, does that possibly push you more towards leaving? I think that’s possible too.”
Fans of the Thunder would argue that there’s no better situation out there for Durant than the one his current team has to offer, pairing him with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Beck agrees with that sentiment, but thinks there’s some level uncertainty with Westbrook’s future in OKC too, which could cause Durant to preemptively leave town.
“The one thing that I thought would keep him anchored in Oklahoma was Russell Westbrook,” said Beck. “Nowhere he’s going to go–other than that fantasy Warriors scenario which I’m still not convinced will happen–the teams that have cap room that will chase him: the Knicks, Nets, Lakers, Wizards, they don’t have anything to offer him that’s better than Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. But, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are free agents in 2017. What I’ve been told is, there’s a concern that Westbrook himself may not stay.”