Regular readers of this website know I’m the first in line to sign up for some healthy, off-season drama. When NBA trade rumors bubble to the top of my summer stock, I morph into the town crier spreading them even further. These are, after all, my stories.
Taking a page out of the NFL’s playbook, the Association learned long ago that there is no off-season. Encouraging fans to talk NBA all year long only builds anticipation for the upcoming season.
But even I’ve grown tired of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Can someone please find this guy a home already?
With every passing day, a new rumor emerges, listing a new city as a potential destination for the Slim Reaper. It’s getting to the point where the league is considering expansion just so they’ll have two more teams to talk about signing Kevin Durant.
The latest franchise to emerge as potential suitors in the Durantula sweepstakes is the Memphis Grizzlies. If you’ve been paying attention to the upward mobility of said Memphis Grizzlies like my good friend Mr. Garrison, which is impossible because he’s the biggest Grizz fan I know, you’ll know they turned some heads last year. Ja Morant became the league’s newest superstar, the second coming of Allen Iverson, with the young A-lister dunking on everyone who stood between him and the basket, leading a team looking to become the league’s next big thing.
They have a solid young nucleus of talent, a shrewd head coach and are unquestionably a team headed in the right direction. So why, in the world, would they want to bring on a baggage-handling veteran like Kevin Durant?
I can’t believe I’m saying this as for years on this site, I’ve preached that landing a superstar is always the right move. Not so in this case. Kevin Durant will soon be playing, maybe, on his fifth NBA team, if you include the season he played in Seattle. While he’s still as deadly a scorer as we’ve ever seen, questions remain as to whether he can lead a team to a title or, as Charles Barkley would say, whether he’s capable of driving the bus.
The Boston Celtics have also emerged as front-runners to land Kevin Durant leading those of us here at SportsChump Manor to once again ask… why.
If you watched the NBA playoffs last year, you saw a young Celtics team emerge from the Eastern Conference, only to lose to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Any way you slice it, the Celtics were the East’s best team. So, like Memphis, why would they upset their applecart and dismantle their roster to land Kevin Durant, when they were already so close?
At this point in his career, and probably for the first time ever, Kevin Durant brings more question marks than bullet points. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still going to give you thirty points per game but whoever the Celtics would have to trade to acquire him adds up to substantially more than that. Additionally, they just signed Malcolm Brogdon, arguably the biggest free agent signing of the off-season. Trading for Durant, in essence starting over, makes little sense if any.
Kevin Durant’s agent is working overtime. He’s pumping out trade rumors quicker than Commissioner Gordon flashes the bat signal during a Gotham City crime spree.
This is because the ever-vocal Durant seems to have worn out his welcome in Brooklyn, demanding they fire their GM and release their head coach, which, to be fair, might be wise moves. The problem is Durant’s legs are becoming skinnier to stand on. No one knows whether he’s still able to co-exist with Kyrie Irving, despite those two still presenting a somewhat formidable opponent, but no NBA championship was ever built on two players alone. That Nets roster continues to need help and a whiny Durant and Irving are hardly incentive to attract running mates. Even James Harden went running for the hills.
Durant’s trade demands also coincide with a time where owners, and even fans, are putting their foot down. With so many superstars, including Durant, wielding their leverage to play where they want and with whom they want, there is bubbling resentment. The Nets already mortgaged their future to land Durant and build anew. They’re hardly about to let him do as he pleases without getting anything in return. Remember, they don’t have to let him go. They’d much rather play the season with a disgruntled Durant than lose him for nothing in return.
Kevin Durant will be 34 next month. While he remains one of the few players on the planet who can score from anywhere, on anyone, it might be time for him to look at himself the way other teams see him: nice to have but hardly worth the hassle.
We have officially reached a tipping point with Kevin Durant in the crosshairs. I have heard not a single trade rumor, and I’ve heard them all, that has screamed championship. On the contrary, most sound like a team giving up too much to get him.
It might be time for Durant’s camp to get back to the drawing board and offer something a tad more realistic, or just suck it up and deliver a championship to Brooklyn as he’d intended. A humbled veteran who still has plenty to offer but who is more in tune with his own self-worth.