They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and the NBA might put that to the ultimate test this summer when it comes to the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant.
Durant, while leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs right now, continues to have his name come up thanks to his impending trip to free agency. The most common—and surprising—potential destination continues to be Golden State, one of the teams Durant has the Thunder continuing to chase.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, some in Golden State, whether it’s those in the front office or actual players, seem to think Durant will come to down and join forces with Stephen Curry and others. NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman captured Broussard’s thoughts:
There are people in Golden State that think they’re getting him. People in management, and I think some players, too.
While a small nugget, it’s an important one. If true and folks in the front office really think Durant could be on his way to town, it means the Warriors would have to make some serious moves either now or before the market opens. As the team stands right now, it wouldn’t be able to afford Durant.
Regardless, it’s a fun situation to think about. Curry and Durant joining forces sounds unfair and probably would be. That said, one would have to wonder how the offense would work. ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss cautioned that the dream pairing might cause some serious growing pains:
The fulcrum of Golden State’s offensive attack is the Curry-Green pick-and-roll. So do you just try this with Durant and make Green a spot-up shooter? That doesn’t make a lot of sense, nor does using Durant all game as if he’s J.J. Redick. Keeping everyone involved and happy would be a challenge.
It’s a good point, but first the Warriors have to make it happen.
There is also the rest of this season to think about. Curry and the Warriors sit on a 48-4 record. It’s hard to imagine the front office blows anything up right now, big or small, on the chance of landing another superstar over the summer. This isn’t a rebuilding team already out of the running by any means.
Durant’s Thunder sit third in the Western Conference at 40-14. One has to wonder how Durant would feel about sticking around if the team pulled off what seems like a minor miracle and won it all. And while he might want to escape a small market, would he really want to go to Golden State and potentially play second fiddle to Curry? What about going and being the guy with the Los Angeles Lakers or with the New York Knicks under the guidance of Phil Jackson? If he loves and wants to continue playing with Russell Westbrook, the Warriors wouldn’t be an option. One summer later, Westbrook could join Durant on a team like the Lakers or Knicks.
It’s a lot to digest. It’s also something to keep in mind moving toward the deadline. If the Warriors do make a move or two, one will have to analyze it based on whether it puts the team into a better position to chase Durant, who some within the organization reportedly feel confident will come to town.