By Dave Daniels @AllDave_AllDay on August 8, 2014
Kevin Durant's decision to leave Team USA basketball came as quite a shock to me this week. Last year's MVP is giving the Oklahoma City Thunder his full attention, and this latest move did have me wondering if Sam Presti put in a call to KD after Paul George went down with a disheartening injury. Here are five things to take away from the Slim Reaper's departure.
KD would not have pulled out if George had not gone down like a sack of potatoes. Maybe other people do not believe my conspiracy theory on that one, but the timing of Durant's decision to bail, especially after practicing hard last week without visible fatigue, was curious to say the least.
Durant knows that he has two years left on his contract with the Thunder, which means there is now officially a possible timer on the rest of his career there. If he does not win a championship in that window, then I think the league MVP is coming back to the DMV area.
It is a shame they could not add a player like Pau Gasol over the offseason, because he would have been a major upgrade over Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder must push all of their chips out on to the table next season in order to make Durant's decision to pull out look wise. This summer could have really helped him from a marketing perspective.
This will take time. In fact, I do not think the decline will happen until after 2016 at the soonest, because Team USA will be an absolute lock to win that summer with LeBron James returning to grab his fourth Olympic medal and third gold. Durant returning after a three-year break from international play is also quite likely.
Anthony Davis was already crucial to the success of Team USA this summer. Now? He is the absolute lynchpin. He cannot get into foul trouble (a real issue with international play's limit of five) at any time, and he also needs to be one of the top options on the offensive end of the floor.
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