There is an increasing amount of buzz that this upcoming NBA season will be Kevin Durant’s last with the Golden State Warriors. Chris Haynes, who spent many days with the Warriors, stated last week there is a “very good shot” he becomes a Knick. Perhaps that would be the safe bet, but Durant has now transitioned into legacy building mode and New York is clearly not the place for that. It is instead … the Philadelphia 76ers.
At this point, someone reading has already said in their head or out loud, “legacy building?”, exactly. Most have not acknowledged it, but Durant has been so dominant in his career, so otherworldly in winning back-to-back Finals MVPs that he has become one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. Of course, this not what is said because he made the decision to join a 73-win unbeatable juggernaut that he could not beat up 3-1 just the year before. Therefore, in order for Durant to receive the credit he deserves, he will have to leave the Warriors but also go to a team he can win championships as the undisputed Batman.
Yes, as I wrote in July, this foolish narrative is something that matters oh so much to Durant. Based off all the clues he has shown, he is still far too thin-skinned over his decision. Because of that, Durant is probably already contemplating where he can find this fit in 2019. And that is where we insert the 76ers.
The Knicks makes sense for personal and business reasons, but even with Durant, they are not getting out of the second round. Going to the Lakers will do nothing for Durant’s narrative. Regardless of who is better in a few years, the Lakers will always be LeBron James’ team until he retires (maybe leaves, who knows). Does Durant want to go home and not win in Washington? Doubtful. In Philadelphia, Durant would be joining two future superstars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Even as the two will certainly improve this year, they would instantly be just sidekicks of Durant’s.
As good as Simmons and Embiid are and as great as they are going to be, they are not two-time MVPs, once winning it unanimously. The narrative will be swung as far as that goes: check!
Now, can he win in Philadelphia? You bet.
Simmons and Embiid would indeed be sidekicks, but great ones. It became all too apparent in the playoffs that Steph Curry and Durant do not fit that well together. There was a vibe of “your turn, my turn” going on which would have done them in if Chris Paul did not go down with an injury. Like the other superstar point guard Durant played with, this prevents him from going berserk each and every possession. The exact opposite outcome would happen playing alongside the pass-first Simmons.
Embiid’s play down low would mesh well with the perimeter play of Durant. Depending on how they would have to make the roster fit, Markelle Fultz and Robert Covington could round out an absolute nightmare of a squad.
At the end of the free agent process (yes), it is going to be hard for Durant to find a situation even close to what he could have with the 76ers (if he is going to leave). There will be no better destination that allows him to be awarded that credit he cares so much about while being in a position to win multiple championships.
Do not think this option will not be in play come July. The morning of the now historic Sunday when LeBron decided to take his talents to Holywood, rumors were swirling LeBron gave the 76ers more than what he gave most teams: A thought. The reason for that, they are an all-time small forward away from being the next great thing.