That headline isn't clickbait. Anyone who hopes Kevin Durant one day plays for the Wizards -- and that seems like everybody in these parts -- should root for a Thunder win Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Then hope Oklahoma City defeats the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals and for reasons other than #NeverLeBron.
If the idea of playing for his hometown team appeals to the kid from Seat Pleasant even a little, then the scoring savant getting a ring is the best hope.
Anytime the idea of KD2DC comes up for discussion on Twitter, talk radio or wherever such talks take place, skeptics state unequivocally Durant won't come to the Wizards because you can't win a title with this organization.
Some note Washington last reached the finals in 1979, the same season it last won at least 50 games. Others mention that even though John Wall and Bradley Beal form a dynamic backcourt, that wasn't enough to make the playoffs this season. Another faction simply views LeBron James as the ultimate roadblock.
It's quite possible none of that matters in the summer of 2017 -- yes, 2017 -- especially if Durant already does what Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing never could: Win a ring.
The odds of Durant joining the Wizards or any team whose nickname isn't typically paired with lightning are perhaps only somewhat better than getting hit by actual lightning. We're discussing the best path to raise those odds.
Let's say Durant gets it done with the Thunder now, meaning an epic Game 7 road win over the defending NBA champs coming off a 73-win regular season and then defeats the LeBron's. His drive for greatness won't change, but he can breathe easier on the legacy front.
He can then think about different legacy: Leading his hometown team to its first title since 1978 and perhaps helm the first championship among Washington's four major pro sports franchises since 1992.
If Durant banked a title, if he doesn't loathe the idea of dealing with any hassle that comes with a return home, if the West remains the more top-heavy of the conferences, tell me why he would rule out playing for the Wizards.
Realize that adding Durant to Washington or any of the nine teams that finished directly behind Cleveland in the Eastern Conference standings right now would mean instant contender. Yet only of those nine cities has Durant ever called home.
Let's back up and talk timeline. The recent spike in Durant 2016 free agency talk is premature based on current facts.
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Though Durant's contract ends this summer, many NBA observers have believed he will actually re-up with Oklahoma City with a player option after the 2016-17 season. That means taking advantage of significant salary cap rises over the next two years and perhaps netting an additional $40 million.
That 2017 scenario also matches up with the contract for his fellow Thunder headliner, Russell Westbrook.
If the Thunder win Monday's Game of the Century and subsequently the 2016 NBA Finals, we can safely assume Durant is staying in OKC for at least another year for a chance to repeat plus the financial reasons plus Westbrook.
If money is everything, Durant likely stays in Oklahoma throughout his prime years. Based on the NBA's salary structure, nobody can pay him as much as the Thunder.
If Westbrook signs a long-term extension, good chance Durant does as well barring some falling out between the friends. It would be hard finding a more talented tag-team partner.
If the miser gene doesn't dominate Durant's thinking or Westbrook says he wants out after the 2016-17 season for say a return to his native Los Angeles, the door opens.
If that door opens, Washington, you want an NBA title on Durant's résumé.
Fair or not, all-time players are judged on whether they've won a title. Winning six like Michael Jordan sounds like heaven. For the likes of Barkley, Malone and Ewing, just one would scratch that status itch.
If no championship this year or next, Durant enters 2017 free agency a soon-to-be 30-year-old wondering if he'll ever taste the ultimate on-court triumph. He then might look for a super friend's scenario similar to when James famously decided to take his talents to South Beach.
Who knows what the NBA world will look like by then. Maybe Wall and Beal are ready for real. Maybe Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still splashing past the competition. Maybe James reaches his seventh straight finals -- or maybe Father Time starts giving him a true fight.
Should Durant join the Wizards in 2017, the year James turns 33, he might be the East's best player. If he's already won a title for Oklahoma City, why not consider trying to turn his hometown's sporting frowns upside-down with the Wizards as a sincere title-contending conduit. Talk about a legacy.
Such talk becomes easier if Durant already won a precious ring.
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