Why Kevin Durant isn’t Lebron: He Won’t Leave OKC


2014 is and will always be known as the year that the “King” of the NBA returned home. Will 2016 be the year that the “Baddest” player in the NBA returns to his childhood home?

Probably not.

For most people who live in the place where a star was literally born, it is usually the place of legend.

“Here so and so played basketball for the first time.”

“Here so and so had his first glass of milk.”

“Here so and so played high school basketball.”

Speaking of high schools, the high school from which a star hails from usually bursts into prominence in the same way the star player does. Little kids growing up already know what high school they want to attend. Professional scouts visit constantly, hoping that the same high school will produce their team’s next marque player. Usually, if the star is transcendent enough, a gym or court is named after them and a big ceremony is held with ribbon cutting galore as if a children’s hospital was breaking ground.

When Lebron James left Cleveland, Ohio, he also, in some part, left his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The “Chosen One” and the “King” of sports in Cleveland and the state of Ohio, next to Ohio State football in fandom and love, left his home without much sincerity for money and championships. Seemingly the whole state exchanged their love for hate and proceeded to burn every jersey at hands reach. Sports pundits hailed this as a blight on his otherwise bright legacy.

When Lebron made his return to Cleveland this past summer, all was forgiven. Jerseys that were saved from the Jersey Inquisition of 2010 were worn proudly and Lebron had become loved by his hometown and state once again. With his return, many began to look at other stars who might make their way home. Kevin Durant was the easy choice, a transcendent star that has publicly and personally been connected with Washington, D.C. for his whole career.

The problem is, it’s a completely different situation and KD isn’t leaving (maybe…)

Here are the reasons why:


No, I’m not talking about endorsements. We are talking about salary money, where the rubber (player) meets the road (team).

Kevin Durant is currently makes roughly $19 million this season with an increase to $20 million for the 2015-16 season. He is a designated player under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement and with 8 years of experience, he can receive up to 30% of the team’s salary cap.

As far as money goes, the Oklahoma City Thunder will unquestionably be able to pay and offer Kevin Durant the most money. With Durant being an once-in-a-lifetime player, OKC is shrewd enough to know that letting a player of that caliber go would be the mistake of all human existence. Unfortunately for Washington and any other team looking to steal Durant in 2016, money will not even be available to be a problem for other teams.

Sam Presti has shown over the last several years that he is shrewd when it comes to locking up key players before they get to free agency (sans the Beard). Even with the possibility of a team such as the Wizards front or back loading a contract to make it prohibitive for the Thunder to extend Durant’s contract, OKC will most likely match whatever deal a team offers for Durant.


This is a word that tend to aggravate me when sports fans and sports analysts both use this in regards to the best players in the league. When James left Cleveland, Ohio, for Miami, many fans and analyst argued that James’ legacy was ruined or badly hurt. James then proceed to win two championships and the cries of a ruined legacy were stopped in their tracks. Legacy is truly what you do on the court. James will leave a transcendent legacy on the court, as will Durant in time.

And this is where the similarities end.

James, when leaving the Cavaliers, did have a slight mark on his legacy at the time of his departure. When he returned, this mark was wiped clean and Lebron increased his legacy by returning to where it all started. However, Durant’s situation is completely different.

Durant did not start his career in Washington, D.C. He did not come straight of college to play for the team that occupies his childhood home. So when legacy is brought up in the equation of whether or not Durant will follow in James’ footsteps, it is nearly impossible to compare other than they both have hometowns/states that have NBA franchises. Nothing would really be gained by Durant going back to his home, because unlike the Thunder, the Wizards are not the most solid team.


The main reason for Lebron James going to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 was the Heat offering a better cast of players for James to play around. The same goes for his traveling back to his home team. Cleveland would have had no chance at James if they had not drafted well (only because they have absolutely sucked since James left) and picked up players such as Kyrie Irving and Dion Waters. Again, this is where the James situation differs from what Kevin Durant will be looking at in two years with the Wizards.

For purposes of looking at the Thunder and the Wizards, we will look at the two as if their rosters will have not changed significantly in the next two years.

Looking at Wizards roster, there is a lot of talent but not much else. Outside of Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and John wall, the Wizards are lacking the pieces to make a formidable team. Young players such as Glen Rice Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. are good role players and could develop in the future but are much to look at.

The team is also quite old in comparison to the Thunder. Eight players are 27+ years with Paul Pierce and Marcin Gortat being the only formidable players out of the group. Also, the Wizards lost one of their better players to the Houston Rockets in Trevor Ariza, which greatly lessens the value that the Wizards have to a player looking to “take their talents” to Washington, D.C.

As much as the Wizards might want to lure Durant to the U.S. Capitol, Durant will choose the team that has the best chance of winning a championship and Washington just doesn’t have the tools. Assuming the Thunder can lock up Reggie Jackson and they keep Kendrick Perkins around on a cheaper deal, the next several years will be wide open for the Thunder. With the way Sam Presti drafts and the available talent of Westbrook, Ibaka, Adams and Jackson, the Thunder are in position to have a championship ready team for years to come, and the same can’t be said for Washington.

How it could happen, but won’t:

To make this very un-probable situation happen would take something along the lines of what happened in Miami, where you will find the only similarity with Lebron James. In order for Oklahoma City to lose Kevin Durant, a series of unfortunate events will have to occur. The main reason that Miami lost James is because they could not build another team around James because of all the money tied up in the top players. Fortunately, the Thunder organization handles their money very well and is deathly allergic to the luxury tax. Role players were few and far between with the Heat in their final year, where as the Thunder have a lot of good role players coming off the bench, especially with the addition of Anthony Morrow. So the Thunder would need to snooze during the upcoming drafts, deal with serious injuries and have the whole bench drop off, all of which are very unlikely.


This will be probably the only time you see this in a post, but all of this is bull crap.

Unfortunately, I am not Kevin Durant. All the analysis in the world can bring us close to what we THINK someone will do, but Durant will do what he wants to do and all we can do is wait.

But he still won’t leave.