NBA free agency routinely turns into a high school dance, where only the popular kids (or teams) survive.
For this reason, it’s most likely that Kevin Durant will either re-sign with the Thunder or will help create an extremely unfair super-team in Golden State. OKC and the Warriors are cool destinations right now – the only reason being that they went far in the playoffs this past season. Yup, the Thunder and Warriors are the cool kids.
Despite being franchises rich with history, the Knicks and Celtics – meanwhile - are basically Billy Madison at the lunch table. They can’t figure out why no one listens to REO Speedwagon anymore and there are plenty of empty seats surrounding them.
Fortunately for New York and Boston, though, reputations in the NBA change in a heartbeat. Less than two years ago the Warriors were largely thought of as the team with two guys who could shoot, but in no way were they considered title material. What were the Cavs two years ago? What were the Raptors two years ago? Hell, what were the Thunder last year?
The Knicks are suddenly relevant again thanks to the Derrick Rose trade. They might not be "championship material" yet, but they now have three players on their roster that players across the league at least respect. They could at least make the case that they are one "Kevin Durant" away from title contention.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have one of the top young rosters in the league and have, arguably, the most amount of flexibility of any team in the league. If Durant wants to play with Al Horford, which he has said is the case in the past, the Celtics can sign Horford this summer no problem. If Durant wants the Celtics to make a big trade for one of his buddies already under contract to another team, the Celtics are armed with enough assets to make most any deal possible. They also have a coach who is thought of in basketball circles as the next Gregg Popovich. That doesn’t hurt either.
A look at the odds of Durant’s potential landing spots.
It makes the most basketball sense and most financial sense for Durant to sign a one-year deal with OKC.
Sure, he’ll guarantee himself a title – but the critics will accuse him of being a Larry O’Brien Trophy gold digger.
No matter what he would do here, he’d never equal Tim Duncan status because he wouldn’t be the architect of the dynasty.
Danny Ainge has been unable to land a star player through a trade in the past couple of years and Ainge absolutely must make that happen to get Durant to even think about Boston.
Being an immortal in New York is on a whole different level of immortality. Bringing the Knicks their first NBA title in 44 years? The words “God” and/or “Jeter” would not do it justice.
What’s the point of doing the same thing LeBron did? And are the Heat really that close to title contention anymore?
The Clippers would have to ship out more than a few guys to make it work. Could get messy.