It’s safe to say Kevin Durant will test the market next offseason. The incident with Draymond Green might have made it more imminent, but how about Durant’s brother’s comment on Instagram?
Certainly, that could mean absolutely nothing.
On the contrary, it could be a sign of things to come. So, where should KD go?
If Durant wants to enter the GOAT discussion, he should stay out west and sign in Los Angeles. Woah, woah, woah, Lakers’ fans. Let’s not celebrate because I was referring to the Clippers. Here’s why:
A Blast from the Past
Lost in all of “The Hampton Five” madness was a big reason why Durant joined the Golden State Warriors. It was the pitch he got from the NBA logo himself, Jerry West.
According to ESPN (2016), West told KD he would be more appreciated in the Bay, which was huge considering the Oklahoma City Thunder’s brass valued Russell Westbrook more.
Of course, winning a ring was something the former Longhorn yearned for. West didn’t need to sway Durant too much there with a roster that already featured three All-Stars.
West left Golden State in search of appreciation on his part ironically. Durant seems to be more of a luxury rather than a necessity on the Dubs. In his recruitment for Durant this time around, he could reason with him on the same premises he pitched back in 2016.
The One and Only Star
Since dealing with a Jones fracture during the 2014-15 campaign, Durant has been a co-captain the last few years. Westbrook took advantage of his injury and became the franchise cornerstone in OKC. Consequently, Durant left seeking validation and respect, which is ridiculous because he was and still is the second best player in the world.
Now, in Golden State, Durant has gotten what some would call“meaningless” rings because he is on Curry’s team.
The Clippers offer Durant the exciting chance to step in and assume control of a roster in need of a superstar.
Why the Clippers?
Well, West came in last season to “Lob City” and turned a shoulda, woulda, coulda roster into one that should entice stars like Durant next offseason.
First, West shipped Chris Paul (shoulda) to Houston. Next, he sent Blake Griffin (woulda) to Detroit with express delivery. Lastly, he let DeAndre Jordan (coulda) walk away to his new home in Dallas.
Many thought the Clippers were destined for a rebuild, but it turns out they are reloading. Here are the players they received in the two trades:
- Montrezl Harrell: 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.0 steals
- Lou Williams: 17.6 points, 4.5 assists
- Patrick Beverley: 6.5 points, 3.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds
- Tobias Harris: 21 points, 8.5 rebounds
- Boban Marjanovic: 7.9 points, 4.8 rebounds
- Avery Bradley: 7.7 points, 37.6 FG%
West added some quality players via the NBA Draft and free agency as well:
- Danilo Gallinari: 19.1 points, 6.0 rebounds
- Marcin Gortat: 5.5 points, 5.7 rebounds
- Luc Mbah a Moute: 5.0 points, 1.8 rebounds (only four games played)
- Mike Scott: 4.8 points, 3.5 rebounds
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 10.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists
Without a star on the roster, West’s new look Clippers would be in the playoffs if the regular season ended today. Harris is probably on the verge of making the All-Star team averaging 21 points and 8.5 boards.
This Clippers team is scrappy and deep, which are trademarks of a good Doc Rivers-led team. Adding Durant would make this team an instant title contender. He could easily assume control as “the man.”
Cementing a Legacy
The Western Conference is loaded, but that shouldn’t scare KD to move out East. Besides, if Boston and Toronto retain Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which one of those two teams is not in the NBA Finals. Not to mention Milwaukee is looking formidable.
Durant has two rings, so his focus should be on finding a way to enter the GOAT discussion with LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. Let’s take a look at what he could do to get there.
With the Clippers, KD could torment the Thunder and show them why they should’ve appreciated him more than they did. He could ignite a rivalry in Los Angeles, one that would supersede the Crosstown Rivalry featuring USC and UCLA. Showing LeBron up would also send shock waves around the basketball world, prompting many to finally crown him as the best in the league. Finally, Durant could effectively end the Warriors reign of terror.
Now, those things do not need to happen in one season for Durant. However, signing with the Clippers for a few years and doing those things would give KD a seat at the table with other all-time greats instead of being one of those guys standing in the corner of the room.
Sure, Durant could go to New York and play for the Knicks, but how far along are they as a franchise with their current roster? What is the status of Kristaps Porzingis and his health? Can he trust that front office? There are just too many question marks in the Big Apple.
The rest of the East features teams nowhere near the conclusion of their rebuild, stuck in purgatory with bad contracts, or are poised to make a run.
If he stays in Golden State, it’ll be hard to build a long-lasting image as a superstar in this generation. He risks the chance at becoming a glorified second option with Curry nowhere near the end of his prime.
Durant has proved that he is a winner, but it’s time to add to the resume. It’s time for him to show that he can win by himself. It’s time to take the crown from King James. If he wants to do these things, joining the Clippers is a no-brainer.