As for the Toronto Raptors’ Greivis Vasquez, a high school teammate of Durant’s at Montrose Christian in Maryland, well, let’s just say he has some alternative plans in mind.
Greivis Vasquez on high school teammate Kevin Durant: "Hopefully I get to play with him one day in the NBA & hopefully it's here in Toronto"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 12, 2014
Hayes: It was announced 'Raptors Day' on Monday here in Toronto, and you guys just got to the first round. What do you think the city would be like if you ever won a title here?
Vasquez: Well, imagine if we get KD, Kevin Durant, 2016.
Hayes: That's your guy, too, right?
Vasquez: And he'll lead us to a championship.
Hayes: Are you calling your shot right now, Kevin Durant coming to Toronto?
Vasquez: I think he'll have statues right outside the ACC.
Yes, a statue outside of the Air Canada Centre. Right between the unicorn stables and a shrine dedicated to "that great Nickelback album."
To be fair, Herbert notes Durant grew up a fan of the Vince Carter-era Raptors, something upon which Vasquez was no doubt riffing.
It’s not that Toronto is a bad destination, per se. With the core they’ve assembled, the Raptors stand to remain Eastern Conference playoff fixtures for the foreseeable future.
Taking reality for what it is, however—also: decades of precedence—it stands to reason Durant will ultimately opt for one of two paths: remaining with the Thunder for the bulk of his career, or going for big-market broke in hopes of adding to his collection of titles.
And therein lies the rub: If KD is somehow able to win a championship or two before his contract expires, he'll probably look to continue rolling the dice with OKC—the team, after all, that drafted him back in 2007.
Needless to say, much depends on what Durant and company are able to do in these playoffs—a postseason that, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller illustrates, could prove the crucial first domino in how the Thunder's near future shakes out.
With two more chances to give Durant what he so desperately wants, what will Presti do? Is it enough to replace Scott Brooks and find a new answer in place of Kendrick Perkins? Will he trade Westbrook for a less aggressive playmaker? Will he consult Durant and give him some measure of control and, potentially, blame for the decisions made? Will Clay Bennett, who writes the checks and can imagine what a 2016 Durant exit might do to his bank account, consider bringing in another GM to finish the job? Will Durant speak up?
As for the Raptors? Their core three—Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross—are on the books for at least the next three seasons, the latter two of which the Raptors will enter with oodles of cap space at their disposal.
Enough to ink a player like Durant? Most definitely. To become the kind of franchise capable of luring in a player of KD’s caliber, however, will require much more than lots of money and three promising pieces.