The NBA finals are over, but the fun is just starting
Published 5:21 pm Friday, June 24, 2016
The NBA offseason is officially in full swing. The people of Cleveland are the happiest they have been in 52 years after the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to come back from 3-1 deficit to win the NBA finals. They also did it against maybe the best regular season team in NBA history, the 73-win Warriors.
The NBA draft was held on Thursday with 60 players having their name called and now the summer of Kevin Durant begins. In the last several years we have been through two LeBron James free agency sagas. The first ended with the infamous “Decision” and his proclamation that he was taking his talents to South Beach and the Miami Heat.
Then two years ago he went through it again and it ended with the famous proclamation that he was “coming home” to Cleveland with a self-penned essay in Sports Illustrated (the man is really really good at dramatic announcements and branding himself).
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Now this summer it is all about Kevin Durant. One of the best pure scorers in the NBA and a freak of size and length, players are not built like him very often. He is a top three player in the NBA and every team will be fighting for him.
He can stay in Oklahoma City, which is the most likely outcome unless he’s tired of sharing the limelight with Westbrook. The team is doing everything they can to keep him. During the draft on Thursday they traded Serge Ibaka to the Magic for three players, including Victor Oladipo.
There will be plenty of suitors though. The Wizards, KD’s hometown team, hired his former coach in OKC Scott Brooks. The New York Knicks are ever enticing because of the branding ability of NYC and they have money, Carmelo Anthony and now Derrick Rose (although he isn’t the same player he was before two knee injuries). Then there are the Lakers. He can move into the role formerly held by Kobe and there is no city better to build your brand than LA.
Another team in hot pursuit will be the Warriors. They have dreams of a super team with Curry, Thompson, Green and Durant leading them to the promise land (I personally don’t like that fit).
Regardless of where he ends up it will be fun to watch. Players with his ability don’t become unrestricted free agents very often. Billionaires will be wining and dinning him all around the country. Then Durant will likely sign a two year contract with an opt-out after the first season, because the salary cap is taking another massive jump next summer and he will be able to get a lot more money.
So if he picks a city and doesn’t like it, we could be right back here next summer (just please don’t have a TV special wearing a plaid shirt. That ended poorly for LeBron).