It’s a particularly bleak time if you’re a Wizards fan, because a) you have to wait more than a week just to start rooting for LeBron to lose in the Finals, and b) it’ll be five months before Washington plays another meaningful game. However, Wednesday brought a small yet compelling reason to look ahead even further, all the way to the summer of 2016, when D.C. fans might just be welcoming back one of their own.
A post on Basketball Insiders looked at the likelihood of NBA players moving from the Western Conference to the East. That’s an enticing prospect for many, given that the West is so much more loaded with talent, but here’s the part that really sticks out for Wizards faithful:
“Players will consider going to the East, for sure,” one Western Conference player told Basketball Insiders. “The East is down right now and the West is a dogfight. The seventh- or eighth-seeded team in the West could possibly make the Eastern Conference Finals with how things are now.”
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea [to join an East team],” added another NBA player. “I’m pretty sure Kevin Durant is going to start it off and go home to [the Washington Wizards in] D.C.”
Okay, we don’t know who this anonymous NBA player is, and his opinion is not exactly expressed as a rock-solid certainty, but still, this does nothing to slow the KD2DC movement. Durant, a native of Prince George’s County, can be an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when, by an amazing coincidence, the Wizards could have enough salary-cap space to offer him a maximum contract.
Of course, a lot can (and almost certainly will) happen between now and 2016, even making the iffy assumption that Durant avoids any more major injuries. He certainly could sign an extension with the Thunder, especially if he decides that he wants to keep going to war with point guard Russell Westbrook, who went bonkers in the forward’s absence this season.
On the other hand, the example of Westbrook speaks to the point of the Basketball Insiders post. Despite his stellar play, which thrust him into the MVP conversation, the guard was unable to get Oklahoma City into the postseason for the simple reason that his team had the misfortune of playing in the West. If the Thunder were in the East, their same 45-37 record would have given them the No. 6 seed.
In addition, Durant would not be downgrading much, if at all, at point guard by coming to D.C., given that John Wall is just about the only player guaranteed to still be on the Wizards’ roster in 2016 (okay, Marcin Gortat is pretty much a lock, as well, and the team will surely try to retain Bradley Beal).
Are we getting ahead of ourselves here? (Is this sports blogger using the “royal we” for any particular reason?) Definitely. But it’s fun to speculate about Durant in a Wizards uniform, and it’s not like we don’t have some waiting around to do before any NBA team plays again. - washington post - Des Bieler