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Wizards bring in Pierce to replace Ariza, but real dream is Kevin Durant in two years

Jul 13, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Orlando Magic Getty Images

LeBron James just left the only place he’s known real success in the NBA because of the draw of home.

The Wizards draw hope from that — Kevin Durant is a Washington D.C. native, and just happens to be a free agent in two summers.

It’s part of what is behind the Wizards not ponying up everything Trevor Ariza asked and why Paul Pierce is taking his place on a two-year deal for less money. J. Michael of CSNWashington lays it out.

Trevor Ariza left for $8 million per year to the Houston Rockets, which is surprising to some in receiving a four-year deal. The reason the Wizards passed? Persons with knowledge of the situation told that he wanted $10 million and the Wizards wouldn’t budge because they have an eye toward 2016 free agency and wanted to keep flexibility with the salary cap. In other words, Kevin Durant.

It was the years as much or more than the money that gave Washington pause. If you just read that last paragraph shaking your head, know that the Wizards are not kidding here.

But make no mistake, this isn’t conjecture anymore. It’s real. The hiring of David Adkins, who coached Durant in high school, from the University of Maryland’s women’s team as assistant coach to player development for the Wizards this past week isn’t a coincidence.

The building blocks are being put in place now. Ariza is off the books and Porter, who is playing on a rookie scale contract, is a much cheaper option. Nene, who will make $26 million for the next two seasons, will be off the books as well.

Let’s be clear, there is no way to have any idea what newly minted MVP Kevin Durant will do in 2016 — the smart money right now would be on him staying in Oklahoma City, and if they win a title those odds of staying go up exponentially. However two years is an eternity in the NBA.

Durant is such a transcendent player that no matter how long the odds this is a good risk for the Wizards, they should be making moves with thoughts of 2016 cap space. Durant is in the same class with LeBron in this sense (LeBron  also will be a free agent in 2016 but is almost certainly not leaving Cleveland again). These are guys who once on your team make you instant contenders, so if they are coming on the market you prepare yourself. The Wizards are not going to be the only team doing this.

But the Wizards can count on the power of home.

  1. csbanter - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Here we ago now KD has to be like Lebron and miss his home too. Although if he and Westbrook continue to come up short out west maybe his mind changes. Let’s not discount the other 29 teams making a run at him as well. The Wizards will have plenty of competition for KD services.

    • redbaronx - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      @csbanter – Yeah but none of them have mom and family included in the package deal….

      • sire2334 - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        I agree with csbanter…it’s all kind of stupid what’s going on with the Lebron and KD home thing….BUT, I will say that these guys LOVE where they’re from and where they’re from are cities that haven’t won anything in years…I think the thought of putting the city that raised them on their backs to bring a chip home, is something that both of these players share. If he won here he could literally run for Mayor.

        Not to mention that if you couple him with Wall and Beal, that make for a great team with a chance to win.

      • redbaronx - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        @sire2334 – I wasn’t addressing the whole “going home” issue. I can’t read KD’s feelings. But what I do know is that it doesn’t hurt that his family is in DC and the Wizards potentially have more all-star talent with Beal and Wall then KD has with just Westbrook. From a practical point of view, the Wizards would be an ideal fit for KD. He fills a position of need at the 4 spot, and he’d be part of a very strong starting 5. And who knows who the Wizards can pick up at the 3 and 5 spots in the next few years. Nene certainly isn’t going to last any more then another year or two, so the Wizards will probably be shopping for a center too.

  2. kevindoc593 - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I find it hard to believe KD leaving OKC in 2016 but if they keep coming up short in the West and Russell does not chill down with his ball hogging ways this may all come true for Wiz fans.

    Like the article says you never know 2 Seasons in the NBA are an eternity anything can happen.

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      I do see Durant as less likely to leave than other players. But then again, I never thought Lebron would leave in the first place. Actually I wouldn’t be mad if he left OKC. The way owner Clay Bennett did Seattle, I think it would actually be just to have Durant leave. And going to his hometown team, its hard to hold that against Durant.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      And if Oklahoma papers call him “Mr. Unreliable” again…

      Who knows.

  3. missthemexpos - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Is it too soon to start talking about Andrew Wiggins wanting to come home to Toronto!

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Only 7 short years… Which are an eternity in the NBA. 7 is from 3 years on rookie and then the extension (every rookie signs the first extension). The only way Wiggens is going to Toronto is in a trade tho any time before that.

  4. redbaronx - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    @kevindoc593 – The Wizards have more pieces for an elite 5 with Beal and Wall than the Thunder do with Westbrook, plus they have a lot of room to maneuver in two years with a bunch of guys that won’t be there. The Thunder don’t. Add that to higher picks in the draft and home cooking of mom….why WOULDN’T KD leave OKC? Other than “growing up” with the franchise and not wanting to upset fans, the other factors are all in the Wizards favor.

    • thesixersbench - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Beyond Beal and Wall, they don’t have anyone long term that would interest Durant.

      Gortat doesn’t have a lot of miles on him, but he’s still on the wrong side of 30 and won’t be getting much better.

      Nene will be on the downward slope of his career come 2016 (he’s 31 now and often injured).

      Who else is there? Otto Porter? Possibly, but he has to prove himself in the NBA first in a big way before he’s a part of this conversation.

      • redbaronx - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        @thesixersbench – This isn’t about role players. The Wizards have two guys who are going to be all-star caliber players in Wall and Beal. Thunder have Westbrook. Plus the Wizards will have higher draft picks the next couple of years and open roster spots in 2016 that they’ll be able to bring in additional people.That’s the point.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jul 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Beyond Beal and Wall, they don’t need anything now. And I guess you missed the part where he pointed out Nene comes off the books then.

      • bigbenh8tr - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        29 isn’t the wrong side of 30

    • boutdatcomment - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      Just because a guy decided to attend college elsewhere don’t mean he didn’t want to be home.. Durant was a teammate of Greivis Vasquez in high school, who was recruited by Gary Williams and went to Maryland because he would more likely stay more than one year. Durant wasn’t recruited in the area because of that one and done. He went to Texas due to his AAU coach went there.

      • redbaronx - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        @boutdatcomment – I’m not sure I’m following you. My comment was FOR Kevin Durant playing in Washington….not against.

  5. sisisisisisisi - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Durant is no lebron; loyalty, integrity character are a few of his strong qualities. He also loves Texas and OKC, I would love to see him replacing Nowitzki for my Mavericks.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      How do you know that loyalty is one of his strong qualities?

      • sisisisisisisi - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Skip to the 7 minute mark if you don’t want to watch it all

      • antistratfordian - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:32 PM


    • hollywood26 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      If you use that argument you start to go against your own case. He is super loyal to DC. He comes home every year, he plays in the local pro-am every year and any type of game between cities he reps DC hard. His commercials have even been done here.

      Don’t see him coming and I’m a Wiz fan but that argument you made wasn’t correct. The reason I don’t see it is simply because so many people would want a piece of him I can’t see it as being comfortable for him.

      • brianjoates - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        Just Google an image of Durants back tattoo, it will clear everything up about where KD is from.

  6. campcouch - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    The new flavor of the month. Forget the lottery,bring back the Territorial Draft!

  7. 13arod - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Durant did say he would want to leave thunder like 3 months ago

  8. yesser12 - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    KD is not going to wait to see what Lebron does in FA that year. KD I can’t see leaving unless the team loses in the 1st round the next 2 years and never get any FA. If Seattle had a team I think KD would consider them.

    He maybe from DC but he didn’t choose to play in a college close to DC.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      College? He was in Texas for less than one year.

      • yesser12 - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        And Melo was at Syracuse for less than a year but he was born in NY and picked them.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        Syracuse is in NY. What’s your point?

    • realfootballfan - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      Yep. Georgetown is right there. Duke isn’t that far from DC as opposed to Texas. He chose neither to be close to DC. Everyone doesn’t have an affinity for a hometown like LeBron. He’s been gone from there nearly 10 years now. Also, for people bringing up Carmerlo, please stop. He wanted to play in NY because it’s a marquee team, too. If that wasn’t the case, he would have jumped at the chance to go to the Nets at the time who had a much better roster than the Knicks because they were near “home” and were moving to Brooklyn shortly.

  9. buckeyefan1026 - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    This just in: teams clearing cap space for when Andrew Wiggins and jabari parker become free agents. Commense the free agency hype way too early!

  10. philliesnuts - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Lebron is the exception not the rule. Not all players want to play where they’re from because they don’t want to be around family and friends looking to mooch off them.

  11. bealwithit - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    I am a Wizard fan and I know big name free agents don’t consider us as much as other teams (Paul Pierce WANTING to come here shocked me). But KD might be our best chance.

    DC is pretty much one of the few teams KD can go to without being hated on. He can bring up the fact that no DC team has one a championship in over 20 years. He can come back home looking like a hero. Also, it was a smart/under rated move by the Wizards bringing in his high school coach this week. That will really help.

    This is a guy who literally reps the DMV area on his back (it is tatted on his entire back). He personally recruits guys like DeSean Jackson to the Redskins and told him to “come home”. The odds are not high, but this is the Wizards best chance to sign a big name free agent.

    • hollywood26 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      I agree but it would be too much pressure from people with a hand out. Honestly I think that’s the reason he left for Texas and why he probably won’t come home now though I know he would love to under different circumstances

  12. cowboysallday - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Coincidence that Lebrons contract is for 2 years and KD is a FA in 2 years?

    • sylpkt - Jul 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Yep, there will be a new TV deal, so the MAX could be much higher then than now.

  13. eugenesaxe1 - Jul 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Wall/Beal/Durant would be nasty.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      Not with how Wall disappeared in the playoffs. That was absolutely shocking to me that he shrunk in the moment like he did. Looked like James Harden Jr. or something how he disappeared vs. the Pacers.

  14. drewzducks - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    I refuse to acknowledge the “Wizards”. However, I’d have no problem with K.D. signing with the “Bullets”.

  15. mazblast - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Oh please–We all know that Durant will sign with…

    …who the heck knows, especially with David Stern no longer directing traffic to the teams he liked in the cities where the pretty people hang out. Two years is a long time, lots can happen, and the speculation is already going. I have no idea where Durant will go, if anywhere, and neither does anyone else, possibly including Kevin Durant.

  16. realfootballfan - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    This is a stupid headline. Durant isn’t leaving OKC for Washington. For one, he’s not ever been talking about “going home” and all this other nonsense that consumed LeBron. He went to freaking Texas in college for Christ sake. He seems like the Dirk type who will stay there his entire career unless OKC just overturned the entire front office over the next 2 years, which is probably not going to happen seeing that Scott Brooks still has a job after everything he’s done to lose it. They’ve been to the Finals when Westbrook was healthy and took the Spur juggernaut to more games than Miami managed to this year. They’ll continue making moves and trying to get their ring out in the crowded West. The entitlement fans feel like everyone should have won a ring by a certain time like it’s easy or something is silly.

  17. campcouch - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    I have a feeling that if most players could be successful in or near their hometown, they’d play there. The majority of them return home during the offseason. Just like anyone who is seeking employment out of high school or college, if somewhere away from home sounds appealing and offers you something a job near your birthplace doesn’t, away you go. You either enjoy it or hate it. It was cool how James equated Miami to 4 years in college and realizing he missed home. I did that same thing joining the military,looking to get out of my boring life. But after 3 years I started missing people places and things, so it’s not out of the box to think that megastars could start trending towards hometown teams. Many of these guys grew up in single parent homes and were raised by the village. That is their family,it’s not some “hood” thing,it’s just part of being without a father. Uncles,cousins,grandfathers,even the local winos have some bit of advice and influence. Can’t bring them along to wherever you’ve been drafted and latching onto another player’s (who may get traded) family isn’t the same. Friends become other athletes because hanging out with average Joes like us isn’t safe for them. Teams may start providing for family needs and services if this becomes a trend and guys desire to go home.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Not really. Some people like new experiences and make wherever they live home. I’ve lived all over this country and despite loving my hometown when I can visit, I don’t miss it at all once I leave it again. It just depends on the person. I like getting to know the local flavor of a new city and how it’s different from where Iused to be like the local restaurants, neighborhoods, attractions, women (when I was single that is), etc.

      • bigbenh8tr - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        You are clueless and must not follow durant very closely

      • realfootballfan - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:30 AM

        Why don’t you tell me how “closely” you follow someone you don’t know, dummy? Because he’s proud of where he’s from, that means he’s going back to DC. Okay, good luck with that one.

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