The offseason of Kevin Durant is underway now that the Oklahoma City Thunder have been eliminated in shocking fashion from the Western Conference Finals — and the Wizards wait in line for a chance to put their best foot forward.
It’s not shocking in that they lost to the defending Golden State Warriors, but that they had a 3-1 series lead before succumbing in seven games.
It’s how they unraveled with Durant and Russell Westbrook reverting to their old form of panicking down the stretch, making bad decisions and blowing a 13-point first-half lead.
Durant, a D.C. native, is an unrestricted free agent who remains on the Wizards’ radar. And a host of other teams such as the Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks want a shot to make their pitch.
“We just lost like 30 minutes ago,” said Durant, who had a team-high 27 points in a 96-88 loss that included a personal 7-0 run in a crucial fourth-quarter stretch. “I haven’t even thought about it yet. I’m embracing my teammates, just reflecting on the season. I’ll think about that stuff, I don’t know when.”
Durant earned $20 million with the Thunder this season. He could opt to sign a two-year deal with the second of it being an opt-out. That would allow Durant to play with Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, both of whom will be unrestricted in 2017, one more season so he can make his decision concurrent with theirs.
And with the salary cap expected to grow from $70 million in 2015-16 to $108 million for 2017-18, financially it would make more sense for Durant to wait.