Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder failed to reach the NBA Finals despite asserting a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors won three consecutive games to hand Durant possibly the most emotionally draining week of his basketball life.
Now, Durant enters the offseason with a ton of questions starting him in the face. Should he stick with the resilient Thunder squad that upset San Antonio Spurs in the second round and nearly beat the reigning NBA champions? Or should he go elsewhere and chase a ring?
Final heartbreak in OKC?
After Monday’s heartbreaking defeat, Durant could barely hide his emotions. “It hurts losing, especially being up 3 games to 1,” the former league MVP said before ambling back to the locker room with a look of deep sorrow in his eyes.
Durant was criticized for taking too many shots during Saturday’s Game 6 defeat. To counter that, Durant facilitated the ball a lot more Monday and took only a total of 19 shots, just 48 hours after taking 31 shots. Eventually, the physicality of a 7-game series took its toll on Durant as he failed to lead his team pass the Warriors juggernaut.
ESPN’s insiders debated whether Durant should return to Thunder or leave for another team. According to Kevin Arnovitz, Durant would be wise to re-sign with Thunder on a two-year deal and opt out again next year. “If you’re Durant, why not take the LeBron Plan — a two-year deal with the second year a player option? This allows Durant to kick the can down the road for a year and give it one last go with Westbrook, whose contract expires in the summer of 2017. At that point, Durant can make a long-term decision that takes into account Westbrook’s intentions.”
Kevin Durant should stay for another year…
Amin Elhassan, too, opined that Durant would stick with Thunder. “Given how close they came to defeating the Warriors, I don’t think Durant will walk away from this experience thinking Oklahoma City will never be good enough to win the title. That said, it still makes little sense for him to lock in long term without knowing what Westbrook will do next year, when he becomes a free agent.”
In all honesty, this is the deepest and most talented team Durant has been a part of since entering the league in 2007. Besides fellow superstar Russell Westbrook, Durant has a squad that includes the likes of Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson and Dion Waiters. On paper, that’s a championship-worthy squad. But the team still lacks chemistry and that was on display during the Game 6 fourth quarter meltdown.
Kevin Durant would be hard pressed to find a more talented team to play with. Expect the superstar forward to stay put in Oklahoma City. Disagree? Voice your opinions below.