It might be the scariest notion for Oklahoma City Thunder fans, even if it is a couple years down the road. But Kevin Durant will be a free agent in 2016, and he hasn't been very straight forward concerning whether he wants to remain in the Thunder blue.
The Washington Wizards' red and blue? Well, he hasn't rid of that possibility either.
Durant, born in D.C., spoke with the media before his Thunder team took on the Wizards on Saturday. Among questions of the Thunder's 10-game win streak, he was asked about his ties to the area, per Ben Standig of csnwashington.com.
I grew up here. I've got 100 people coming to the game tonight. That should tell you how much I care for this city. Just growing up here, catching the subway down to the MCI Center at the time as a kid, and watching the games. I'm very fortunate, blessed to come back here and play. Every part of D.C. is embedded in my heart. Looking forward to playing tonight.
Later in the pregame media questioning, Standig asked Durant if he ever thought about playing home games in front of his hometown later in his career.
I spent a lot of money on tickets today. Imagine if I play here. I haven't given it any thought. Growing up here, taking the train to down to Gallery Place, Chinatown to come watch these games as a kid, I never really thought about coming home to play. I love Oklahoma City. I love coming here and visiting. Hopefully...we can get a win tonight. That's all I'm thinking about.
Well, there certainly wasn't a "no" anywhere in that answer.
This isn't the first time talk has transpired over Durant leaving Oklahoma City in the future.
Questions surfaced when Durant changed representation to Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports in June 2013. However, Durant explained the decision had nothing to do with an eventual exit from OKC.
If reading into that move by Durant wasn't stressful enough for Thunder fans, anxiety has run even higher after Matt Moore of CBSSports.com revealed the Brooklyn Nets' desire to acquire Durant in 2016:
Durant has been the humble star in smalltown America (not really, Norman-OKC is fairly big but that's the perception) for his entire career and it's part of why he's so beloved. But now you have one of the wealthiest franchises on the world's biggest stage wanting to make him their icon. If Durant can't win a title in OKC with smart management and careful team building, isn't the lure of a franchise that will simply spend whatever to put talent around him going to be alluring?
It's not surprising for a high-caliber player like Durant to have career destination rumors encompassing him two years before it could even happen. Teams want him, and why wouldn't they?
We've seen what Durant can do with a lack of a supporting cast around him. James Harden chose to exit OKC after the 2011-12 season, but Durant still led his team to a 60-plus win season and a top seed in the West, all while joining the prestigious 50-40-90 club.
You might be thinking to yourself, "Well, Durant still had Russell Westbrook." In that case, Westbrook has been out since Christmas, and Durant has had arguably the best month of his career since he's been gone. So much so that he has overtaken LeBron James in the MVP race, and dare I say, makes us question whether LeBron is actually the best player on the planet at this very moment.
Back to my point, Durant is a franchise player. Teams can easily build around him to become legitimate title contenders. And even though he has yet to capture that elusive NBA title, his recent displays of team-carrying ability is making believers out of us all.
Would Kevin Durant ever leave the Thunder?
It's not a question of whether Durant will get a ring. The real questions are "When?" and "With who?"
Meanwhile, Thunder fans will tremble in fear of Durant's free agency on July 1, 2016. That is, if his contract isn't extended by then.
I'm not predicting Durant leaving the Thunder; it's way too early to tell. But Thunder fans should certainly enjoy having one of the best players in the universe while they can.
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