5 landing spots that make sense for Durant
With the pick of the litter, the question becomes which teams Durant should actually consider. Here are five landing spots that make sense for the former scoring champion.
Putting aside unfinished business and Durant's unwavering devotion to Oklahoma City, Durant simply stands to make the most money if he stays put for at least one season.
First off, the Thunder can offer Durant a fifth season, something no other team can match. However, Durant stands to make even more if he just signs a one-year deal with them and becomes a free agent again in 2017, when he'll have 10 years of experience. That would allow him to earn up to 35 percent of the salary cap, which is slated to jump to $108 million.
Signing anywhere else for the max could see Durant earn roughly $108.1 million, but if he took a one-year deal for $25.3 million in 2016, he could sign for $203.8 million in 2017.
And the Thunder are no slouches. They just gave the reigning champions all they could handle. Running it back for one more year makes the most sense - both on the court, and in the wallet.
There's no such thing as a guaranteed championship, but if Durant went to the Bay, then who could stop the Warriors? Adding Durant to a 73-win team would make Golden State unthinkably loaded.
The only concern there would be reputation. As far as the media is concerned, Durant is made of Teflon. But if he makes a South Beach-esque move like LeBron James did in 2010, public opinion could swing.
Speaking of South Beach, here's the Heat's elevator pitch: no state tax, beautiful weather, an established core of star players with rings, and Pat Riley at the helm. The Heat know how to build championship teams, and uniting Durant with Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, and Chris Bosh would be deadly.
Another bonus: Durant would have a much easier time getting to the Finals in the East. Forget facing a 67-win juggernaut followed by a 73-win buzzsaw. All Durant would need to worry about is James.
This one's far-fetched, but not impossible.
The Raptors have a deep roster including an excellent supporting cast, an All-Star point guard in Kyle Lowry - and they're in dire need of a lead scorer if DeMar DeRozan walks. The team was already good enough to take two wins off James in the Eastern Conference finals. Adding Durant would push them over the top.
A trio of Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge would be the best frontline the league has seen since Bird-McHale-Parish in the '80s. And if one superteam could take down the current iteration of the Warriors, it's the Spurs.
Durant would need to take less money and accept a smaller profile, but if he wants to win, there's no better program that Gregg Popovich's never-ending dynasty.