We all play fantasy sports here, so it shouldn’t be to difficult for me to ask you to let your imagination run wild for a moment.
When it comes to Kevin Durant — who is in the final season of his contract with OKC — we’ve only been hearing two options regarding his future. 1. KD re-signs with the Thunder. 2. KD leaves in the offseason to sign with his hometown Wizards.
Allow me to present a third (highly, highly unlikely) option — 3. KD gets traded to the Warriors this season.
OKC’s top priority should be, and is, to re-sign Durant this offseason. But let’s say they hear some rumblings of KD leaving and get nervous they may lose him for nothing? Management didn’t hesitate to trade James Harden in the very same situation, over what has been rumored to be a difference of roughly $1 million.
Common sense would tell you that OKC would never allow this to happen again … but let’s say they truly feel they have no shot of retaining Durant come February. Would the Warriors be the best landing spot?
Remember, since KD will be a free agent, a trade would likely only occur with a team that Durant approves, and agrees to sign long-term with. Playing alongside Steph Curry in Golden State could be that team.
From OKC’s standpoint, they need to maximize value. That means a package of young players, draft picks, and most importantly, a star that’s under contract for years to come.
Try this on for size.
Why it works for OKC
If the Thunder were to trade Durant, this is the type of return they’d need. Maybe Durant’s injury history helps them decide to move on and build a new core around their other star. With the keys now undisputedly in Russell Westbrook’s hands, he’s free to thrive as “the man” each and every night. He and Klay would both be locked up long-term as the starting backcourt, alongside a frontcourt of Barnes (who would need to be re-signed), Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter. The phrase “addition by subtraction” probably is a stretch, but that’s still a damn good starting five. Looney was also a projected lottery pick that slipped to the Warriors, and could turn into a piece down the road, while I’m sure GSW wouldn’t mind tossing in some future draft picks if they wanted to make this happen.
Why it works for GSW
Steph and KD … STEPH AND KD!
The payoff for the Warriors is obvious. This would easily be the deadliest duo of shooters a team has ever had, and may also be the best duo of pure scorers as well. Here’s the big question: Would the Warriors trade two starters off their championship team, along with future assets, for a player that’s been relatively injury prone of late? Believe it or not, that’s a legit question. That lineup on paper looks very sexy — Curry, Andre Iguodala, KD, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. That could be another title team right there … but at 11-0 as defending champions, messing with success may not be something Golden State would entertain. Something tells me the Warriors would have a hard time turning this chance down, though.
Either way, it’s a hell of a fun trade to talk about. Which way would you side?Hit me up on Twitter @julianedlow