Kevin Durant hasn’t officially been ruled out for the season, but GM Sam Presti doesn’t sound optimistic about the forward’s injury. Despite the down season, Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com believes the Thunder shouldn’t panic and make rash decisions this offseason. The team still has the talent to contend and unless Durant himself declares he is leaving, the franchise shouldn’t think about trading its superstar.
Here’s more reaction to Durant’s latest news:
- The Thunder have had major injuries in each of the last three years and Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report believes the window for Oklahoma City to win a championship is closing. Ding compares this team to another small market team, the 2004 Wolves. That team was built around Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell and considered a contender to win it all. Cassell injured his hip and Minnesota lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers. The Wolves never even made the playoffs since and a few years later, they traded their star forward to the Celtics. While it’s unlikely the Thunder trade Durant, he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2015/16 season.
- The burden of taking over a heralded franchise in a monster market such as New York or Los Angeles is something that may be attractive to Kevin Durant, opines Ding in the same piece. Ding cites Durant’s history in making documentaries as reason why the forward wouldn’t mind the spotlight.
- Preparing for the future without Durant is something the Thunder might have to start thinking about, opines Zach Lowe of Grantland.com. By being extra cautious with Durant’s injury, the Thunder likely lost their last chance to chase a ring before the forward becomes the most talked-about pending free agent since LeBron James. A championship with Oklahoma City would go a long way in keeping the reigning MVP in town, but the buzz surrounding Durant will do nothing but add pressure to the team during the 2015/16 season.