The Kevin Durant sweepstakes

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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant will be the most sought after free agent when this season ends. The 27-year old superstar has already won all the individual accolades including the Most Valuable Player award, four NBA scoring titles, five All-NBA teams and seven selections as an All-Star. The only thing missing in his resume is an NBA title. He has had several deep playoff runs with the Thunder including a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, wherein his team was beaten.

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Midway into the season, rumors are rife that Durant may jump ship if his team fails in the playoffs yet again. The way the Thunder are built, they are among the elite teams and have a real shot at the title, barring any injuries to key players. The Thunder are currently 3rd in the powerhouse Western Conference with a 38-13 win-loss record behind the defending champions Golden State Warriors and perennial contenders San Antonio Spurs.

Durant is now on his 9th season and is about to enter his peak. If the Thunder fail to win this year, there is a big possibility that Durant may go to another team to chase his title dreams. The Thunder simply needs to get over the hump.

It would be a nightmare for the Thunder to lose their superstar. Durant is not just a great player; he is also soft-spoken and has proven to be a leader in the locker room.

Already, several teams have been named as potential suitors. Included in this list are the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, two proud and big-market franchises that have fallen on hard times. They also have a salary cap that can absorb grabbing a player of Durant’s stature. Durant is expected to bag a deal no less than $25 million a year with a new team since the salary cap for the NBA is expected to balloon to $90 million next season. However, we don’t see Durant to jump ship to rebuilding teams since he is chasing an NBA championship.

A more intriguing prospect is the Golden State Warriors. The defending champs are now running roughshod over the rest of the league with a league-best 45-4, on track to beat the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ all-time best regular season record of 72-10. Rumors have come out that if it seems that Durant will walk next season, the Thunder would rather trade him now to get something. Already, there are some reports that mention Warriors forward Harrison Barnes and other players that can be traded for Durant before the February 18 deadline.

A line-up featuring Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant would be terrifying and the Warriors have enough assets to re-sign him next season even if they have to let go of some key players like Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala to provide cap space.

Indeed, any team that acquires Durant will be formidable. If he goes to the Warriors, they will virtually be unbeatable. Durant keeps on saying that he loves Oklahoma but it is always better to win one championship in Golden State against none in his current team.

No doubt, the Kevin Durant sweepstakes are on!

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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