One thing we know for sure: Kevin Durant will never do to Oklahoma City what LeBron James did to Cleveland on Thursday night.
But I’m not talking about leaving for another team, just the despicable, awkward one-hour television special that ripped the heart out of Ohio sports fans. Leaving for another team could happen. The situations in Cleveland over the past decade and in Oklahoma City over the coming one have as many obvious similarities as obvious differences.
Oklahoma City’s main advantage? The team and its direction will be a more powerful force to help keep Durant than it was for Cleveland in keeping (or losing, as it turned out) James. It’s apparent now that James was always going to leave. The Cavaliers gave LeBron just about every conceivable perk and built an annual title contender, and it still wasn’t enough. The Thunder doesn’t have to do that to keep Durant happy. Sam Presti and Co. just have to give him a chance to compete for championships, and the Thunder appears poised to do just that. If Durant can play winning basketball in Oklahoma City all the way through his prime, he won’t leave, but that’s a bigger if than you may think.
There’s no fear mongering going on here. Durant has never even hinted that he would leave Oklahoma City under any circumstances in his control. (The only evidence I can find that he’d even consider it, other than the mandatory “you never know” thrown in upon occasion, were comments about the Miami Thrice saga said to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, seen near the bottom here.) But Durant wants to win. Keep Reading…