As the NBA season winds down, a champion will be crowned and the free agent pool will fill up. One of those soon to be free agents is Kevin Durant—an elite scorer, a superstar and an MVP-caliber player. Despite his many accomplishments, he has yet to earn a championship ring.
After going up 3-1 this year in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors won games 5 through 7 to close out the series and leave the Thunder in shambles. In game 6, Kevin Durant certainly deserves at least some of the blame for the loss as he performed very poorly along with his running mate Russell Westbrook. This left the door open for many questions, especially now that KD will be a free agent. But the biggest question right now is, where will he go? Below are some possible best and worst fits for Durant as I see it.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Even though the Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead, Billy Donavan is an excellent coach and Sam Presti a phenomenal GM. Although KD and Westbrook don’t have the best chemistry, they are both top 5 NBA players without a doubt and that is definitely something that can elevate Durant’s chances of obtaining a championship. The only good reason KD should stay in OKC is if the Thunder signs a true point guard like Mike Conley in the offseason. While Westbrook is a terrific player, he is often reckless with the ball late in games and needs someone to handle the ball late like James Harden could before he was traded. Furthermore, sometimes Westbrook’s bad habits rub off on Durant, as we saw late in the Western Conference Finals this year. Not the worst thing to stay, but not the best either.
To win a championship, you have to know how to win. That’s something Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade certainly know how to do. The Heat have a very good set of talent, yet D-Wade is not the same superstar he used to be, and KD would be the perfect player to fill that void. With Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, KD would cement the Heat as an immediate title contender, similarly the way Lebron James did when he joined the team in 2010…not to mention they made 4 straight finals with him and won 2. They also have a solid group of role players, definitely better than KD has now in OKC.
Priority: Very High
Portland Trail Blazers
While this may not seem like the most glamorous destination for KD, Terry Stotts has proven to be a terrific coach and Damian Lillard has proven to be a superstar. After losing 4 starters, C.J. McCollum stepped up and the Trail Blazers made the playoffs in the western conference and won in the first round. Most teams that lose 4 starters would not even make the playoffs, let alone win a round. This team is young, fired up and waiting for a couple of pieces to come their way and cement them as a title contender. The combination of Lillard and KD would be lethal, and it would likely seem reminiscent to the OKC team that made the finals in 2012.
Brad Stevens has proven to be a very good coach as the Celtics continue to make the playoffs each season. With a strong group of guards in Thomas, Bradley and Smart and a group of young talented role players, KD would certainly be a great fit as a leader who could guide the younger players to capture a ring. There are better possible destinations, but don’t rule Boston out.
Andrew Wiggins. Karl Anthony-Towns. Zach Lavine. How much fun could KD have up in Minneapolis with these three high flying, rising NBA stars? With a scorer like KD on this squad, he could take attention away from those three, thereby helping those guys have a bigger impact on the game. While these three are talented, they do not yet know how to win in the NBA, and KD could definitely show them the ropes and we could see some Harlem Globetrotters-type heroics if KD signs up.
New York Knicks
Why would anyone go to New York? The franchise is a complete mess; however, KD is very fond of 7’3” Kristaps Porzingis as well as Carmelo Anthony. With a scoring duo like KD and Melo, two of the top 5 NBA scorers, how could they be stopped? While they’d be exciting to watch, I’m not sure the Knicks would become a title contender—but the team would certainly better than it is now. While I’m hopeful, I don’t see this nor would recommend this to KD for his own sake. However, I would recruit him hard and accept him with open arms. Who knows what the Zen Master could do?
Golden State Warriors
Champions, yes. Now if KD went to the Warriors, who would be the best on the team? Would there be tension between Curry and Durant? Would they need to lose Klay Thompson in order to obtain Durant? The infinite questions make this a questionable call. While the Warriors certainly shouldn’t deny KD if he wants to join, I don’t like the idea of Durant joining a team after they beat him. I don’t like the idea of two superstars teaming up by way of free agency—they would either be too dominant or there would be too many issues. Sounds like someone we know… anyway, I feel like KD won’t want to go to the bay area this offseason. But if he did, the Warriors should do whatever they ccan to get him.
San Antonio Spurs
This is a great franchise with a great coach. However, KD’s own team just eliminated this team in the semi finals, so why join someone you beat? It’s a lateral move from OKC, and it’s not always easy transitioning to play with the Spurs from another team (just ask LaMarcus Aldridge). However, if KD did join the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard could go back to playing power forward like he did in college or KD can play the two.
Los Angeles Lakers
Please, no. Yes, LA is a wonderful city with great food, nice cars, and bright lights. If he really loves LA, he can go there during the summertime or when he retires. Not now. No. Please don’t go, KD!
Priority: Very Low
This has been reportedly out of play, but DC is where KD grew up so maybe nostalgia will kick in and he’ll play for the Wizards. Other than that there is a pretty low chance he will sign with them. John Wall is great and they’d work well together. Beal and KD would be entertaining together, though Beal’s injury is concerning and the Wizards lack of talent off the bench would be a downgrade from OKC.
Priority: Very Low
As you know, James Harden played with KD on OKC and, together, they made the finals! But don’t ask KD whose fault it was that they lost…I think we all know who pulled the disappearing act. The Dwight Howard/ Mike D’Antoni part two will be comical and entertaining, however I don’t think KD needs nor wants to be part of a reality show in Houston. Stay far away from Houston, please. While James Harden is a super talented player, he is not a winner by any means and he and KD would play off of each others’ bad habits similarly to the way Westbrook and KD occasionally do in OKC. James Harden is also a loser, and, like Westbrook, he would dominate the ball too much.
Priority: Very Low
About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at email@example.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).