Get Ready for Weeks Worth of Wild Kevin Durant and Miami Heat-Related Speculation
Sure, the sequel is never as good as the original, but the sports media world seems desperate to paint Oklahoma Thunder forward Kevin Durant's upcoming free agency as the follow-up to LeBron James' "Decision" saga. The story picked up steam today given OKC's ouster from the playoffs last night at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
The plot points do have some similarities.
Durant will be testing the free agency waters for the first time as a truly established blue-chip player, and he'll do so as a star who has come frustratingly close to winning a title with the small market team he's so far remained loyal to.
Meanwhile, Pat Riley, the NBA's perpetual long-term schemer, has once again left the Miami Heat with enough cap space wiggle room to potentially go fishing for a white whale in the offseason. Like 2010, however, they have some complicated matters with their current stars to deal with first.
Is Durant winding up in a red-and-black Heat jersey next season the most likely scenario? Not at all.
Is it enough within the realm of possibility to lead to weeks worths of sports radio chatter and Twitter talk? Definitely.
Let's break it down. The five-year contract extension Durant signed with the Thunder in 2011 is up. He's already made his first public comment about the situation, but only to clarify that he has no idea what he'll do.
"I don't even know where my mind is right now," Durant told ESPN. "I can't think about what is going to happen in a month. I'm just thinking about what we've all been through as a team and embrace my brothers right now."
He added he'll start talks with his inner circle about his future soon.
In all likelihood, it wouldn't be a surprise if he returned to OKC and continued on with current teammates like Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Enes Kanter.
The Heat, along with a long list of other suitors including the Wizards, Celtics, Rockets, Knicks, Lakers, Spurs, and Warriors, will try to convince him otherwise.
According to some reports, Riley has made Durant the Heat's number one offseason target. Which shouldn't be a
However, the Heat also will have to resign Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside in the offseason as well. Chris Bosh's future also remains perhaps the biggest non-free agency related question mark in the NBA. The big man is still battling his blood clot issues, and it's possible he could face medical retirement.
So, of course, other reports state that Riley would like to take a shot at Durant, but actually has
We won't officially know anything until July when teams and players can actually enter the contract-wooing period.
Until then, the talk will be as much about the storyline as the actual facts, and we all know that we love a good sequel story in the summer.
Heck, Twitter is already at it.
Le Batard: "I think it’s pretty silly to react that way when I tell you that Pat Riley has been planning for years" https://t.co/m8ex0iGapx— Slice Miami (@SliceMiami) May 31, 2016
Kevin Durant to Miami is a done deal pic.twitter.com/VV4NYskR77— Josh Baumgard (@joshbaumgard) May 31, 2016
If I'm Kevin Durant and want to leave OKC, I'd got to the Spurs or Heat.— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) May 31, 2016
Miami Heat fans be looking at Kevin Durant like pic.twitter.com/GzRpqJuJNv— Caleb Castillo (@calebcastillo54) May 31, 2016
Lets see how that fan feels when Durant leaves to play for The Miami Heat https://t.co/EojcH7guGB— Heated Warrior (@TheHeatedEagle) May 29, 2016