NBA Free Agency: Kevin Durant’s top free agent destinationsby Yaw Bonsu June 17, 2019 0 comments
With free agency approaching, Kevin Durant will be one of the most sought after players this summer. Here are what should be his top-three teams to sign with.
With the NBA season approaching its end, that only means its offseason draws closer. The NBA offseason even with no formal games provides excitement just with the off the court news. Players prepare to take on the new challenges that their careers will be with many making the decision of their careers. Teams are attempting to create a roster that is fit to win an NBA Championship.
Beyond all of that, the biggest stories of the offseason come with the NBA Free Agency. Unlike other years, this year’s class of free agent provides us the fans with one of the most potent classes in NBA History. This includes an influx of both stars and superstars from all over the NBA. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, and Jimmy Butler are just some of the franchise-changing players that teams will have a chance to sign this summer.
But with all of the big names that can potentially switch teams, the player that draws the most attention is Warriors forward Kevin Durant. Durant is widely regarded as a top-two player this league has today. In terms of NBA history, he is one of the greatest modern NBA scorers that we have seen, and this summer all eyes will be on Durant as he is due to be a free agent.
Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in the regular season. In this year’s playoffs, Durant is currently averaging 34.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists, even though he is currently sidelined with a right calf strain that he sustained in Game Five of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Houston Rockets. Despite the injury, the ten-time All-Star, Durant, is heavily linked to both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers. However, there may are certainly other teams that would be excited about his services.
Los Angeles Clippers
If we are talking top destinations for Durant, the Clippers are at the top of the list. Anyone in Durant’s position would above all, want to win and to sign a max contract. These are two things that the Clippers can provide for Durant. Flashing back to the Warriors’ path to the NBA Finals, the Clippers were actually their biggest threat. The Clippers took the Warriors to six games in the first round, losing 4-2. The following round saw the Rockets also lose in six games, failing to capitalize on Durant’s injury. And finally, the Western Conference Finals were a no contest as Damian Lillard and the Trailblazers got swept. This leaves Los Angeles as the team that was the closest to knicking off Golden State. Considering the Warriors are the defending NBA champions, this shows the Clippers are equipped with the tools to win.
Los Angeles was the 8th seed in the tough Western Conference. Trading away their best player in power forward Tobias Harris in the regular season, left the Clippers with no apparent star. Despite that, the Clippers had the tools to make the playoffs. Looking at the team in all aspects, they have a proven coach in Doc Rivers and a tremendous front office spearheaded by Jerry West. Everywhere you turn in this organization, you see people who know how to win. Putting Durant on a team with Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and that young core would be too good of an opportunity for Durant to pass on. Also, seeing the success that Los Angeles has had this season, it seems as if they are only a superstar away from being a true contender in the NBA.
There will have to be a series of steps taken for the Rockets to sign Durant. Although it will take a lot, the Rockets should certainly be a top destination for Kevin Durant. As I mentioned previously, money is going to play a huge factor for Kevin Durant. The Rockets cannot give Durant the max contract that Durant will be seeking. But what makes Houston a desirable destination is the fact that they are accustomed to winning. Flashing back to two seasons ago, Houston was the #1 seed in the Western Conference behind James Harden and Chris Paul. The only thing that was standing in their way was Durant and the Warriors. There is no doubt that Rockets have a championship roster. And adding Durant to it will only make them stronger.
The Rockets are put on this list after it was reported that General Manager Darel Morey was looking to trade anyone on the team not named James Harden. This leaves the Rockets front office the opportunity to trade Chris Paul and Clint Capela who are both on bad contracts. From there, it would leave the path open for Kevin Durant to sign. Knowing that the Rockets are shopping almost the entire team, a roster remake with the addition of Kevin Durant does not sound bad at all. Beyond all of that, pairing Kevin Durant with James Harden would create the NBA’s best duo. It will also instantly be an upgrade from a 34-year-old Chris Paul who is on a terrible contract. The bottom line with putting the Rockets on the list solely is to reiterate the fact that winning is what matters.
Durant signing with the Rockets gives him the opportunity to win, and have another superstar beside him. After winning two championships with the Warriors, why wouldn’t he want some more? Houston is the place for that. The Rockets only roadblock in the past few years has been the Golden State Warriors. Taking Golden State’s best player not only gives them the advantage over the Warriors, but It will give them their best chance to bring another Larry O’Brien Trophy to Houston.
Forget about the New York Knicks. The New York team that everyone should have their eye on is the Brooklyn Nets. It should not matter how good the Knicks’ draft picks are or how much money they have. Brooklyn is simply the premier team in New York and all free agents should have their eye on them. Going into the offseason, the Nets will have up to $50.5 million in available cap space. Depending on the contract of current franchise player D’Angelo Russell, this number can decrease by $20 million.
That will still leave Durant with a suitable amount of money to sign for. The Nets are a winning basketball team. After going 42-40, the Nets saw themselves back in the NBA Playoffs. This was led by Russell who finally had his break out year. Russell averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists which should show Durant that Russell is an attractive player to play alongside with.
In Golden State, Durant had to play alongside three and sometimes four other all-stars. We all know who Kevin Durant is and what he is capable of. Durant is able to be the best player on a championship team. He does not need a ‘superteam’ to do so either. The Nets provide Durant with the opportunity to once again be the player he was before signing with Golden State. Not to mention he also will be playing within the biggest market in the world in New York City.
Looking at the Nets, they have a great coach in Kenny Atkinson and (for now) a winning culture. Durant and Russell is a duo that would wreak havoc in the Eastern Conference. the 76ers, Raptors, and Celtics can all be enduring some crucial roster changes in free agency. Pending those changes, it can give the Nets the chance to once again be at the top of the Eastern Conference picture. I see no reason as to why Kevin Durant wouldn’t consider the Nets in free agency. Unlike the Knicks, Brooklyn has built the foundation to become a threat. All they need is one superstar to put it all together, and that superstar is Kevin Durant.
Wrapping It Up
Kevin Durant is the second-best basketball player in the NBA. Any team in the league would benefit with the addition of Durant onto their roster. But only a few teams will be considered by The Slim Reaper. Although his shortlist reportedly contains large market teams, the teams above are who fit best for him. The Clippers, Rockets, and Nets are the teams that will put Durant in the best position to solidify his legacy. Additionally, Durant wants to be the best player in the world. With these teams, he will certainly have a chance to stake that claim.