Kevin Durant would give himself a better chance at winning a title if he were to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors or sign with an Eastern Conference team, Bill Simmons of The Ringer writes. Many believe that Durant will sign a two-year deal with OKC that contains a player option for year two, as was reported earlier this week.
Simmons offers an unconventional viewpoint on Durant’s impending decision. Two years ago, Durant signed a $300MM deal with Nike. At the time, he and LeBron James had the best selling sneakers among all NBA players, Simmons points out. The 2014 MVP then injured his foot and missed a significant amount of time during the 2014/15 campaign. Durant’s comeback 2015/16 season was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and the Warriors’ historic 73-9 record. Now, the conversation is between Nike with James and the Jordan Brand and Under Armour with Stephen Curry, Simmons adds. Simmons argues that Durant, his representatives and Nike know they won’t be competing with the top brands unless Durant wins a ring or he leaves the Thunder and he speculates that if Nike had its way, Durant would sign elsewhere this summer.
The piece, which is must-read, is a reminder that the NBA is a business and there are several off the court factors that play into basketball decisions. Selling sneakers likely won’t be the primary force that drives Durant to stay or leave, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.
Here’s more on the NBA’s upcoming free agency:
- Chris Copeland, Ray McCallum, Phil Pressey, Alex Kirk, Peyton Siva, Greg Whittington, Denzel Livingston, Chris Walker, Victor Rudd, Scott Suggs and Chasson Randle all participated in the Rockets‘ recent free agent mini-camp, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
- Russ Smith, Will Cummings, Michael Eric, Cory Jefferson, Khem Birch, Derek Cooke, Justin Harper, Scott Suggs, Malcolm Thomas and Joel Wright were among the attendees at the Clippers‘ mini-camp today, Kennedy reports in a separate tweet.
- The Mavericks can’t settle for lower tier talent in free agency, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News opines. Sekfo believes the team needs to come away with one or two of the top tier free agents, such as Dwight Howard, Mike Conley or Ryan Anderson.