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NBA Oklahoma City ThunderWashington Wizards

Oklahoma City Thunder Need To Win it All To Keep Kevin Durant Beyond 2016

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City THunder

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Kevin Durant has become larger than life in the state of Oklahoma. And what’s not to like about him? He is one of the few role models the NBA has today. He does a lot for the city of Oklahoma City, he lives there full-time, and most importantly, he has tuned this once backwater outpost into one of the league’s hottest markets.

But that could all change in 2016. During an interview with ESPN, Durant went on about how much he supports the teams from his hometown of Washington D.C. He also admitted that he keeps tabs on the Washington Wizards, a team that many, including yours truly, consider to be a team on the rise.

Many fans brushed off the interview as Durant just being Durant. But look it up on YouTube, watch it and read between the lines. Durant becomes a free agent in 2016, and his beloved Wizards will have enough cap space available to go after a big name free agent. One of those big name free agents the Wizards will be targeting is Durant, the hometown star.

That is why it is important for the Oklahoma City Thunder to come out of the ultra-competitive West and win it all in the next two years. You would be kidding yourself if you think that Durant is not getting frustrated with the playoff ousters he has been suffering through for the past few years. You would also be kidding yourself if the Durant was not thinking about the prospect of playing for the team he grew up rooting for.

The Thunder have to be in panic mode right now, because everything the front office does and every success and failure OKC has on the court in the next two seasons will greatly influence Durant’s free agent decision. The Thunder can no longer rely on just getting to the Western Conference Finals and believe that Durant will be satisfied with that. No, the Thunder have to get past the Western Conference Finals and win it all in the NBA Finals. That is the only way Durant will still be in an OKC jersey beyond 2016.

If the Thunder fail, don’t be surprised at John Wall‘s new running mate in 2016.

Kareem Gantt covers the NBA for Rant Sports. For more from this author, ‘follow’ him on Twitter, ‘like’ him on Facebook, and ‘add’ him to your network on Google