Current NBA MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was recently asked about the possibility of playing for his hometown team, the Washington Wizards. His response was tentative and of course he’s focused on OKC, but his answer left the door completely open for that option:
“I grew up watching the Bullets, Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics,” says Durant. “That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City, too.”
Durant grew up in a small town outside of Washington, and spent his childhood attending many sporting events in the Capital City. Like LeBron James‘ most recent move to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Durant may also want to return to his hometown when his contract is up with the Thunder.
A common speculation surrounding the reigning MVP is that he feels more isolated in OKC and would like to be closer to his family and friends in the Washington and Maryland areas. James sacrificed the chance at another title to go back to a team that was not in contention simply for the sake of being home. Durant has expressed his deep love for his hometown as well, and may choose to take the same route.
If, in 2016, he did sign with Washington, then Durant would most likely benefit greatly from being in the Eastern Conference. He would have more chances at the NBA Finals since the East is not as stacked as the West. James, for example, has been to the Finals five times in the East, and I bet that number would be cut in half if had been in the West his entire career.
Being in a much larger market would also increase Durant’s stature. OKC has been very supportive of KD throughout his tenure there, but the huge media attention in Washington would propel him to even greater heights. Although this decision for Durant is two years away, it’s never out of the question for an athlete to shock us. Most thought James would never leave the Miami Heat, and only his passion for Cleveland and his love for his family and friends could make him leave. Durant shares those same feelings for our nation’s capital.
Will he return home as well? Only time will tell.