Will Kevin Durant Land in D.C.?

AFRO Sports Desk Faceoff


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Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant

An explosive rumor mill linked Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant to his hometown of Washington, D.C. when his free agency begins in 2016. Durant reportedly deleted his Twitter account because open-ended questions about his return home were becoming a distraction.

LeBron James’ decision to return to Cleveland opened the door for any athlete contemplating such, so when reporters asked Durant about his views on James’ decision, the “KD2DC” slogan was amped to another level. With a talented roster already in place in Oklahoma, prying Durant away will be a tough maneuver. But it is a possible maneuver that has the internet buzzing and critics asking, “Will Kevin Durant sign with the Washington Wizards in 2016?” Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley debate of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.

Riley: I cannot see why he wouldn’t. The Wizards younger core of Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Otto Porter should be hitting their stride by the summer of 2016 and the team will have max money to throw at Durant and beg him to come to a place he loves so much. Oklahoma City started out with a great marriage with Durant before back-to-back campaigns that fell short of the team’s 2012 NBA Finals appearance crept into critics’ minds. After the {Oklahoman} ran the article “Mr. Unreliable” lambasting their star for a playoff loss, I think the doors officially opened for Durant’s return home.

Green: Going home would be great for Durant and his family but he is big on trust and loyalty, and he already has a home away from home in Oklahoma City. Also, he is currently on a team that is young enough to be in Finals contention for the next five to seven seasons. Russell Westbrook (25), Serge Ibaka (24), and Reggie Jackson (24) make up an awesome quartet with Durant (25) at the forefront with emerging center Steven Adams (21) solidifying the middle of the defense. While the allure of Wall and Beal is promising, Washington simply cannot offer the talent and the promise that the Thunder can.

Riley: But the Wizards can offer Durant his hometown and a deprived fan base that is just waiting for something to believe in. The city can circle behind a winner if its native son returns home. Basketball in the District would erupt and the city would be back on the map.

For a local kid like Durant, the chance to push his city into the limelight might be an opportunity he simply cannot resist. D.C. treats Wall and Beal like they are their own. The city would push Durantmania to a contagious height. Durant’s in an interesting position with the Thunder. If he wins a title over the next few years he could easily bow out, knowing he gave Oklahoma a championship before he returned home, similar to James. Or, Durant could go the next two seasons without winning a title and use the frustration as an exit strategy back to the East Coast. It could be a win-win situation for Washington.

Green: There aren’t too many franchises as stable as the Thunder right now. Pulling Durant out of Oklahoma would take a savvy and genius general manager, and I’m not sure Washington has that in the bumbling Ernie Grunfield, a man who has made more than his fair share of gaffes. In the Thunder’s corner you have Sam Presti, a suave front office man who’s been lauded for his numerous successes over the past few years.

Durant’s going to look at all of those factors when 2016 arrives, not just the chance to play at home. He’s entering the stage of his career where potential and promise are no longer the words associated with his name. Championships and titles will now be the primary words of power and as of right now, Durant’s best chance at winning a ring and claiming his place in history reside in Oklahoma City.

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