There's a looooooooooong time left until Suitland native and NBA superstar Kevin Durant is a free agent. Three years, to be exact. So many things can happen in those three years. The Thunder could break through and win a title, or Russell Westbrook's knee is never the same and they fade from the NBA's elite.
But there have already been some murmurs that Durant's situation in OKC isn't exactly stable. The team has suffered on paper since the currently-disastrous James Harden trade, and now Westbrook is hurt again. Oklahoma City is, of course, a small market, and it's on that second contract where small markets lose their advantage to keep their star.
So ... is there a chance KD would want to return home? Who knows, but it is interesting that Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the premier NBA reporter, brought up the Wizards unprompted when asked about the issue in a podcast with The Big Lead. (It's about 2/3 of the way through the podcast). Emphasis mine:
I think it's going to be hard for them to keep him and Westbrook, I really do. Especially if they're not winning titles. I think you look at the Harden trade, they don't have a lot to show for it right now. Kevin Martin left as a free agent, and I'm not sure Jeremy Lamb is going to be a big part of their future there. I don't know that he fits their culture, I don't know that he's going to be a big part of it. Maybe that'll change. Maybe he'll grow.
As long as they have Durant and Westbrook, they're going to contend and they're going to win a lot of games. But to me, the chance of them keeping him for the long, long term was, they're winning titles, they're getting to the Finals, they win a couple titles. Then, it's really hard to leave because you know that you have this championship group that you want to keep together. If that doesn't happen over the net few years with them, I just think it's much easier for him to leave. Not just for New York or LA, but a Washington, where he grew up, where John Wall is. I think it's going to be harder to keep them.
Jason McIntyre, the host, was stunned by the Wizards mention, so he followed up. Wojnarowski walked back from the previous answer a bit, but reaffirmed that the Wizards could be in the mix.
I'm just saying, when you look at Durant and the possibilities for him there, it's obviously New York, LA, the big markets. But he is from Washington and you'll have a ready-made backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal, who's going to be a very, very good NBA shooting guard. To me, those are the challenges and the competition the Thunder face when he comes up.
Look, a lot of this is silly. Three years ago, people doubted LeBron James would leave Cleveland, and look at where we are now. But other than Wall, Beal (with an extension) and maybe Otto Porter and/or Martell Webster if the latter's contract is guaranteed, the Wizards have nobody on the books the year Durant comes up as a free agent. If I were the Wizards, I'd be cautious chasing a big free agent that'll command a lot of money in the future. If there's even a one-percent chance Durant would be open to playing in D.C., you have to be ready for that.
But again: this is all conjecture. There's so much time for this thing to play out before we even think of it as a real possibility.