Posted in: NBA
Hey, that’s the question that just won’t go away. Anthony Davis rumors have come and went. Kawhi Leonard’s 2019 team is still in question, but the buzz has subsided for now.
The 2019-2020 landing spot for the “Slim Reaper” continues to be a hot topic discussed by analysts and fans as well as bettors.
Can you blame us, though? Durant may be the best pure shooter in basketball and he continues to use his length and size improving his defensive prowess.
Is it possible the reason folks are acting so giddy when this subject arises is a Durant move anywhere other than staying in NorCal would immediately make the NBA 5x more interesting and all of a sudden much more competitive?
The Golden State Warriors are approaching dynasty status. Even with several other teams with similar records thus far in 2019, the biggest worry for the Dubs continues to be maintaining a championship level of focus through the highs and lows of the regular season.
Unless you’re a Golden State Warrior fan, you probably want KD to go somewhere else.
I know I do!
This team has the right men playing the correct parts, one of the most important is Draymond Green, a man who has publicly clashed with KD on multiple occasions.
Believe it or not, Green may be more valuable to the Golden State Warriors success than Durant.
Don’t hate me!
Just think about it for a second. The Warriors have never looked less like themselves in the postseason than when Draymond was suspended in Game 5 of the 2016 Finals when his team subsequently went on to lose the NBA Championship to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They were NBA champions before Kevin came to town, not before Green though. Draymond will never have the all-world length or be the dominant shooter and scorer that Kevin is, but Durant will never have the fight in him that Draymond possesses.
In part for this reason and also because Kevin wants to clearly be the top dog on a team, KD looks like he’s on his way out after this season.
He wants to be able to match what Lebron was able to accomplish with the Cavs in 2016.
While I’m not sure he can do that, he could stay in Cali, join the Lakers or Clippers, and immediately threaten the Warriors for tops in the Western Conference.
Kevin has expressed interest in going back to his home of DC and playing for the Wizards but if current Wizard star Bradley Beal is on the move as well, he won’t have much help in the nation’s capital.
Madison Square Garden could be another potential destination for Kevin. The Knicks are a big market team that desperately needs to start playing like one.
There’s even the possibility of Durant returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think they would be a better team than in the past when Harden was in town. Paul George is a much better defender, facilitator, and he also plays his role on the team no matter the part.
Just as you begin to think this Durant lotto couldn’t get any more interesting, the sportsbooks have betting odds on Kevin’s landing spot for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
*Betting odds by MyBookie.
Working backward, we begin with the Houston Rockets.
If he’s truly gone “ring crazy”, then it would behoove him to just stay where he’s at with the Warriors. No matter how many rings he wins with Golden State, though, will he ever get the props for “doing it himself” or “turning a team around”?
He won’t. They may surpass the Bulls as the best team of all-time, but he will likely never be talked about as the best ever like Lebron or Michael.
Besides this factor, Kevin has come out and said he is not at all interested in taking a pay cut next year regardless of his destination.
The Rockets don’t have the juice to sign him to a max deal as they have 5 players making over 14 million/year and will have to make room just to keep their current guys next year.
It’s costing the Houston front office nearly a million bucks a game to play James Harden and Chris Paul as each guy is making nearly 40/year.
So, no Rockets.
I’m pretty sure Anthony Davis is on his way out next year to play alongside King James in LA. I could be wrong but that seems to be the general consensus from most of the professionals, at least right now.
If Davis left, there could potentially be cap room for Durant although he may demand Chris Paul and James Harden type numbers (40 million) as opposed to what the “small market” Pelicans have been paying Davis (25 million).
For the same reason that Anthony Davis is leaving is the same reason Kevin Durant likely isn’t going to sign with New Orleans, they are a small market team that can’t compete for free agents the way some of the aforementioned organizations are able to.
Are we really talking about Lebron’s old team? Would Kevin Durant, the man who’s had to listen to analysts outline his shortcomings to James his whole career, really sign with his old team?
If Kevin thought the comparisons were never-ending before, it would be much worse in South Beach.
The Heat won’t be clearing up very much cap space in 2019 if they don’t make some trades. 4 players are leaving but they are only freeing up about 13 mil/year. That’s about ⅓ of what “Durantula” plans to make with his next contract.
Let’s look at some teams that should have room to make two max free agent signings.
Now, we’re beginning to get a little more realistic. The LA Clippers are literally cutting their salary in half next year. Okay, they have to sign some free agents which will bring it back up but alas, there’s room!
120 million is salaries put out this season and there’s only 60 mil on paper right now.
So, the Clippers have the money, the location, and they’ve never won a championship. They just need the collective star power to match the rest of the West.
Small Forward Tobias Harris is leading the team in scoring and is quite efficient only turning the ball over twice every 36 minutes and shooting 53% from two, 43% from three, and 89% from the free throw line.
He’s an unrestricted free agent next season and if they decide to keep him, he will demand a bigger contract than the piddly little 14 million a year he’s currently cashing.
You might be thinking Harris is having such a good season because it’s a contract year but it’s his shooting percentages that are up, not the attempts.
Leonard has led the Toronto Raptors to the best record in the NBA so far this season. Throw him and his strange laugh on the Clippers with KD and now tell me how the West was won.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
It’s not so easy, is it now Golden State?
Wow, this one might be a bigger surprise than if he took a pay cut to play with James Harden.
While Kevin’s old team hasn’t been the same since he left, the Thunder didn’t immediately auction off the estate either.
They may have to, though, to get him back. With OKC already over the cap for next year, they would need to get rid of some overpriced talent in order to keep the nucleus of Westbrook, George, and Durant.
Center Steven Adams is making 25 mil per year right now, but the Kiwi is having a career season. They may keep him and look to shop guards Andre Roberson and Dennis Schroder who are set to make a combined 25 mil next year between the two.
Paul George can play like a guard and if they keep the 7-footer from New Zealand who’s only in his 6th year in the league, KD can play more of a 3 or 4 position with Russell running the point.
The financial move may leave them a little light on the bench, but they will have one heck of a nucleus.
Hey, now this would be great! I should begin this section with a confession. I’m a Knicks fan.
I’m not from New York. I just liked how the old crew played.
I was a very skinny kid, so my folks never let me play football even though I absolutely adored physicality.
I ended up playing and watching a lot of basketball, and no team was as physical and tough as the Charles Oakley, John Starks, and Patrick Ewing-led Knickerbockers.
I remember the playoff rivalries with the Pacers and the Miami Heat. Defensive wars would end 84-82 almost every night.
The days of the New York Knicks playoff success seem about as distant as NBA top seeds scoring less than 85 points a game.
This year has been awash with Porzingis out with a torn ACL. Next season, though, Kevin Durant coming to New York could change this team more overnight than we’ve seen from anyone signing ever.
He couldn’t do it alone, though. Kyrie Irving was the right man to help Lebron James win a title, but he skipped town pretty quick when the narrative became all about Lebron saving Cleveland when it was Kyrie who made the biggest shots in that series.
I have a feeling Kevin wants to and so does Kyrie, but there’s always a question mark with management and the team would have to go from nearly worst to first as they are currently 10-33 with a 4-14 record at MSG.
I like the Clipper bet more because Kawhi is bigger and a better defender than Kyrie. Doc Rivers is a proven coach not to mention LA “currently” has a much better supporting cast and record, (24-18).
The most likely landing spot is the Lakers?!
I thought Kevin, like Kawhi and Kyrie, didn’t want to play with Lebron. King James has done a great job leading the Lake Show this season but a recent groin muscle “pop” as he called it has Lebron on the bench with his team dropping 7 of 10.
The Lakers would be better than Golden State with Lebron and KD. I don’t doubt that, but the new narrative would go something like “KD helped Steph and the Warriors win titles. He also helped Lebron win one in LA.”
KD is a little emotional. Don’t let the DC roots fool you. He has been called soft by several former teammates. Ring or no ring, I don’t think Kevin is satisfied with either of those narratives.
I’m not ruling it out, but I think Durant is on the move and it’s not to play with Lebron.
I said it before. If Kevin Durant wants more rings, just stay put. Golden State is willing to get rid of one maybe two pieces of their core to keep him long term. Even if they lost Klay and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors would likely still be favorites to win it all with KD.
This is also the most boring of all potential choices, obviously. Warrior nation is about the only NBA fan base that would be excited about this decision.
All the greats get bored and it’s hard to imagine Kevin and maybe some others in Golden State not becoming more and more disinterested as their dominance reigns.
These betting lines may disappear or change by the trade deadline on February 6th, so get your wagers in as soon as you can.
I truly feel like Kevin is going to either LA or New York in the Fall of 2019. Feelings aren’t worth much, though, in this business.
Salary, legacy, the right teammates, big cities, championships, etc. These are the factors a major NBA free agent consider.
The Knicks can give him a max salary and match him with NBA champion, Kyrie Irving. How long before they would contend for an NBA title, though?
The New York management is suspect and Kevin knows this too.
It wouldn’t hurt anything to spread your money around here. 20 bucks on the Knicks could still net you 60.00 and just 10 dollars on the Thunder can get you to 80 back.
The Clippers are my pick, though. I really really like his pairing with Kawhi Leonard as well as the opportunity to play under head coach Doc Rivers.
If the Clips are ultimately successful, Kevin would not only be able to smash a cross-town rival led by his nemesis but also crush the rivals of the whole NBA, the Warriors.