I’ve been planning on writing something over the past few months making a case as to why Kevin Durant won’t be leaving Oklahoma City as some people are trying to make you believe.
There’s lots of reasons why. First, he’s said it multiple times. I know, I know. You can’t take what athletes say to heart. It’s just regurgitated fluff that is said only to please fans. But I don’t know man… he’s been pretty adamant about it. Second, financially he’s going to be fine in OKC. It’s not like he won’t get paid. Third, the “spotlight” and draw of a major market is overrated. In this age of media everywhere, if you’re good, you’re going to get the endorsement and you’re going to get seen.
So yeah, I was going to write all of that out in an overly wordy column, but Clark at The Lost Ogle took care of it today and said it much better than I possibly could. Read the whole excellent thing, but here’s a great excerpt:
Of course, the D.C. rumors are expecting Durant to be even harder core. They say he will refuse to sign any contract (including an offer during his restricted free agency in 2011 that Oklahoma City could match) and risk more than $80MM that could be wiped away by an injury or car accident during the 2011/2012 season. And why? Assuming the Washington Wizards, the team closest to the town he grew up in, will have max money to offer him in the summer of ‘12.
Let’s assume the Wizards manage to avoid the awful contracts they love to offer over the next two years and keep only Gilbert Arenas and whoever they draft so they can afford Durant: Why would anyone think Durant wants to go home so badly? He was an unrestricted free agent coming out of high school and could have attended any college he wanted. If he loved his hometown so much, why wasn’t he playing for Georgetown? Or Maryland?
Also, here is the other thing. If Durant is lying and really wants out of this small market so badly that he would be willing to give up a guaranteed $20MM, he will lose out on more than money. As LeBron is learning as he gears up for his free agent extravaganza, the only teams who can even remotely compete with his current team when it comes to dollars are only able to do so because they have entirely stripped themselves of talent. When the Knicks come knocking on his door next Summer, they will have only Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari under contract. Then, should they sign King James, they will only have enough salary cap space leftover to surround him with minimum salaried players.
Durant, on the other hand, is the member of a young corp destined for greatness while working for the “it” general manager in a city that adores him. Yeah, I can see why he’d want out.