Kevin Durant might not play for the Oklahoma City Thunder forever. In our free agency era, anyone can leave any team once their contract is up. Just ask LeBron James. But could the Thunder’s best player and one of the NBA’s top stars really relocate when he’s a free agent in 2016?
Former Maryland Terrapins head coach Gary Williams seems to think so. Per the Washington Post, Williams suggested Durant might be paying close attention to the media buzz surrounding LeBron James’ return to his hometown. Depending on how Durant views it, he could consider heading for the nation’s capitol.
While it’s just summer chatter from a former college coach that has no direct ties to Durant’s thinking, it’s still worth listening to. It’s especially true given Washington’s steady rise in the Eastern Conference, where it’s arguably a lot easier to field a title contender than it is in the ultra competitive West.
That’s slowly changing with James going to Cleveland and other Eastern Conference teams making moves, but the Wizards could continue their rise moving forward. Washington was able to win a playoff series last season and even gave the Indiana Pacers a tough series in the next round before bowing out.
The Wizards were solid enough to convince veteran small forward Paul Pierce to latch on with them for next season, while Marcin Gortat also agreed to a long-term deal. Washington returns all but one starter from a year ago (Trevor Ariza signed with the Houston Rockets) and if they can continue their solid momentum, it’s not crazy to think Durant could bolt for a change of scenery.
In that same breath, it’s still entirely reasonable to think Durant has found a new home with the Thunder, as he’s formed a fairly formidable team even in a tougher conference. Then again, even if Durant did decide to leave Oklahoma City, just the Thunder and Wizards aren’t going to be the only high level suitors for his services. It’s in a far off land in hypotheticals for now, but the early whispers of a potential Durant departure could give way to quite a frenzy in the summer of 2016.