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Report: If Kevin Durant leaves Thunder as free agent, he’d probably sign with Wizards

Jul 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

Kevin Durant, Trevor Ariza Kevin Durant, Trevor Ariza

LeBron James, when he returned to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, talked about his desire to be a role model.

He was referring to children in Ohio, but maybe other NBA players will be inspired by LeBron going home.

Kevin Durant holds a STRONG connection to his native Washington, D.C., and he becomes a free agent in 2016. Could the Wizards sign him? Who would they be competing with besides the Thunder?

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, as transcribed by Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog:

“I don’t think anybody, to be quite honest with you,” Smith said. “Obviously the New York Knicks would be in the mix and what have you. But there are folks that I’ve spoken to that are relatively close to Kevin Durant that tell me if he were to decide to leave Oklahoma City, it would  be for the nation’s capital. That’s the kind of dude he is. That’s a place that he would consider.

“I certainly don’t want to sit here as a reporter and insider and try to give indications that he’s planning on leaving Oklahoma City,” Smith said. “I don’t know that to be sure. I don’t know that to be the case. But I was told that if there is a team that would be strongly considered, it is the Washington Wizards, and him returning home.”

Steinberg adds an important note:

Maybe Durant signs with the Wizards. They’re leaving the door open, refusing to give Trevor Ariza a huge contract.

However, there’s a huge difference between LeBron and Durant.

Durant can remain beloved in and around D.C. if he stays with the Thunder. He never broke the area’s heart by leaving the Wizards.

Returning to the Cavaliers was the only way Cleveland would embrace LeBron again anytime soon.

I’m sure Durant will have reasons to return to Washington, an area that still clearly means a lot to him. But he’s happy in Oklahoma City too, and I expect him to remain there.

Then again, not long ago, it seemed extremely unlikely LeBron would return to Cleveland.

  1. antistratfordian - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    well no kidding.

  2. redbaronx - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Hang on Wizards fans till 2016! Mark it on your calendars! I like our chances on getting KD, and if we do…just imagine the possibilities. Beal and Wall with two more years under the belt? Ridiculous!

    Kevin …..come back home buddy!

    • therealhtj - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      You’re gonna have to find someone to unload Gortat on then too and then still fill out the rest of the roster.

      • whoaitstu - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        The NBA has projected the salary cap to $80 million in 2016 based on projected NBA profit sharing revenues. As of now, they will have a projected $40 million in salary cap room give or take a couple million.

      • redbaronx - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:50 PM

        @therealhtj I don’t know what cap #’s you’re looking at, but the Wizards will have enough space in 2016 without “unloading Gortat”. Also, the Wizards don’t need to “fill out the rest of the roster”. We lost three players and just signed two with Pierce and Kris Humphries. They’ll both come off in 2016. Hello cap space!

    • antistratfordian - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      Imagine the possibilities! Losing to Cleveland every year!

      • redbaronx - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        @anti – Pfft! Cleveland management will find a way to screw up their roster like they always do. Not worried about it! I see a Wiggins for Kevin Love trade coming up leaving a nice defensive hole. As much as the Cavs say they won’t trade Wiggins, you know they’ll do it and live to regret it too!

      • antistratfordian - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Ha. Well you might be right about that. But Griffin has been okay so far. Or maybe just lucky. But LeBron masks a lot of holes against most teams – teams that are Wizards caliber. It’s those well coached teams with HoFers playing with maximum chemistry that give him problems.

      • redbaronx - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        @anti – Agreed re: LeBron. I responded to a post yesterday from a guy who thought Miami would finish ahead of the Cavs. People don’t realize how intelligent LeBron is and how he makes people around him much better than they are. I have no doubt the Cavs will be vying for a 1 through 3 spot in the East. If it weren’t for the Bulls, I might have picked Cleveland to come out of the East. Right now I think the Cavs or Wizards will be in the 2, 3 spots in some order. What happens in the playoffs is a different story. Wall isn’t convincing under playoff pressure so far, and if there were a Cleveland v Washington matchup, I’d take Cleveland. Two years from now with Durant….regardless of the outcome, as a fan I’d love to see LBJ and KD go at it in the same conference!

      • antistratfordian - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Right. Well I’ll still be skeptical about the Bulls until I see more from Rose.

        I have no clue about the East at this point to be honest. But I do expect LeBron’s team to be near the top somewhere. Whether they can capture the best record is probably going to depend on chemistry more than talent. Miami had a lot of talent, but the best record eluded them most of the time. LeBron’s Cavs had less talent, but more chemistry, and ran away with the East in two consecutive years. They have to find the right chemistry/talent balance to have the best record and also get to the finals. Miami only had it one season in 2013. So we’ll see.

  3. watermelon1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Don’t get our hopes up this early. At least wait until NEXT summer to give us false hope.

    But seriously… SO EXCITED FOR DURANT TO COME TO DC!

  4. csbanter - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Well at least PBT is gearing up the hype machine two years early wouldn’t want Sports Illustrated to out scoop you again.

  5. pooskay - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Durant deserves better than the Wizards.

    • lazegowizfan95 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      Wizards starting 5 with Durant is actually better than a starting 5 with Thunder
      John Wall
      Bradley Beal
      Kevin Durant
      Nene
      Marcin Gortat
      ORRRRRRR
      Russel Westbrook
      Thabo Sefalosha
      Kevin Durant
      Serge Ibaka
      Kendrick Perkins

      • doughboy86 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        Idk why you all think that starting 5 is even possible… There’s no way the Thunder will let Durant go for nothing.. If u ask me Wall or Beal will be dealt for Durant. I really believe it could Wall because that’s 1 of the pieces the Thunder are missing a true PG. That would be a good backcourt for Thunder Westbrook & Wall. I believe Beal is a slightly better player then Wall.

    • whoaitstu - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      You’re an idiot if you think the Wizards wont be a better team by the time KD becomes a free agent. They have a great young core who just man-handled the Bulls hung in with the Pacers who were more experienced. The WIzards are one number 1 scoring option away from actually contending. They already have a great defense, they just need a better scoring option than Wall and Beal. Imagine the possibilities by then. Wall and Beal will have already established themselves as stars and to have an opportunity to pair them up with a guy like KD, sky’s the limit.

  6. campcouch - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    The Territorial Draft will return lol

  7. jmag420 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    Why I love Kd, loyal dude..plus DC would be veryyy interesting. Great uoung core.

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