The Wizards playing in the Eastern Conference semifinals for a second straight season and having a sincere chance to advance at least another round is the local basketball story right now. All kinds of future narratives may change depending on what happens over the next few weeks.
That doesn't change the interest in a certain big picture angle, one thats been over-discussed for months yet isn't going away anytime soon. At least not until Kevin Durant tells the world his future plans.
As for Durant's immediate future, that became a bit clearer this week for the Oklahoma City Thunder forward with the hiring of former University of Florida coach Billy Donovan.
"When you don't have a coach, it's a lot of uncertainty in the building," Durant said Thursday during a phone interview with ESPN. "But coming into the practice facility today, I felt like it was a next step for us. It was an exciting feeling for everybody that was there at the gym today to learn that we got Billy as our coach. We're excited, so we're looking forward to it."
Donovan replaces Scott Brooks, who coached the Thunder the past seven seasons, including a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals. Durant's injured foot, which is arguably the main question regarding the high-scoring forward's future, and other bumps and bruises throughout the roster derailed Oklahoma City's 2014-15 season, leaving the Thunder just outside the playoff picture.
Durant is slated to enter free agency in the summer of 2016, meaning Donovan essentially has one year to make the case for the D.C. native to stay in Oklahoma City. Donovan alone won't be the decisive factor, but the two-time college basketball national title-winning coach with no NBA coaching experience and no connection to his star player is certainly a new variable.
During a Wizards/NBA podcast this week, one side declared KD2DC dead because why would Donovan take the job if there weren't assurances his stars - including 2017 free agent Russell Westbrook - were staying put. The other side countered that Donovan has flirted with the NBA before and now had the opportunity to coach two of the best players in the NBA. Typically coaches in Donovan's spot wind up hoping they can help turn a rebuild into a contender. Therefore, Donovan's risk is a worthy gamble, but doesn't mean Durant's made any decision. Home is still home, after all.
Donovan will be introduced as the Thunder's coach on Thursday.
Other thoughts from Durant during his interview:
Donovan's lack of NBA experience: "I wouldn't say it matters. If you know how to coach a team, that's all that matters. He's been at one of the highest levels of basketball and won a title. That's tough to do. So you can't just downplay what he's done in the college ranks and just automatically say he's not going to be great in the pros. He produced a lot of pros, and they all love him."
Limited exposure to his new coach: "I met him one time out in Vegas. He was there for USA Basketball. And I've heard good things about him. I'm sure we'll click pretty quickly. But I don't have a relationship with him. I don't know him. He didn't recruit me at Florida, so I don't really know him too well."
Getting his own 411 on the former Florida coach: "I reached out to Chandler Parsons and Mike Miller, and they just told me great things."
Possible growing pains with a new relationship: "It's going to take some time. I think just for him over the summer is big for him to get to know more guys. Obviously he's watched us before and knows what our strengths and weaknesses are as players.
"But I know he's going to do a good job because from what I've heard he works extremely hard, his attention to detail is one of the best and everybody's been telling me he's an NBA coach coaching in college. So I'm excited. I'm very excited to learn from him and get better from him and try my best to do whatever he tells me to do. I can't wait to get started."