Thunder Make Huge Push to Keep Durant out of Washington


Let me preface this article by saying that I’ve never been completely aboard the KD2DC hype train surrounding The District. It’s not because I don’t want Kevin Durant in a Wizards uniform – he’s my favorite player, of course I do – but I’ve been saying since the summer that there were two years between the start of the hype and when Durant could actually make a decision in free agency.

And in those two years, a lot of things could happen during that time to persuade Durant to go one way or the other.

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Well, with the 2014-15 trade deadline finally gone, Oklahoma City made a huge splash that could end up proving vital in keeping the hometown kid away from home and in the Midwest.

While the Wizards made a few ripples in a pool with their trade for Ramon Sessions (class will now be in Session without Professor Miller), the Thunder made huge splashes with their moves.

To start, they got rid of Reggie Jackson. The Bobby Shmurda look-a-like, who shoots basketballs instead of rapping about the hood, was dealt to Detroit and was more than thankful to be out of Oklahoma City (just check his tweets). He’s been saying for some time now that he wants to be a starting point guard, but obviously he wasn’t getting that nod over Russell Westbrook.

Jackson and the Thunder also failed to come to an agreement last offseason on a new contract, so the relationship between the two parties was already on thin ice.

The Thunder then got rid of Kendrick Perkins, which might have been the best move they’ve done the last three years. Perkins, who has been praised by Durant in the past, has been more of a loud mouth than an actual force on the court the last several seasons. While he complains about calls and yells quite often, he doesn’t do anything much with the basketball that opens your eyes, unlike his time in Boston.

Jan 7, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) defends against Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In return, the Thunder acuqired DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler from Detroit (Jackson trade) and got Enes Kanter from Utah (Perkins trade).

At first glance, getting Augustin and Singler may seem like an average swap, since Jackson is more talented than both players. But Singler provides another outside weapon and Augustin is averaging just under 11 points this season.

But what makes Augustin more valuable than Jackson is his relationship with Durant. The two were teammates at the University of Texas in 2006-07, a team that made it to the Big 12 Championship game and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed, only to lose in the second round.

The two clearly have a rapport, and Augustin has always shown to give it his all on the court while staying relatively quiet. Jackson, on the other hand, was open about his displeasure with this role in Oklahoma City.

The addition of Kanter is always huge. Kanter is in his fourth year in the league but is only 22. The 2011 third overall pick has improved each year and he has gradually earned a starting role in the league. Oh yeah, Kanter also averages a double-double (18.4 points, 10.4 rebounds).

Kanter will become a free agent after this season, but with a strong core now re-established in Oklahoma City, it shouldn’t be hard to convince him to play down low with Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams.

We’re still 1.5 years away from Kevin Durant becoming a free agent and a lot can still happen to convince KD to go down whatever road he chooses after next season. But with the addition of a legitimate big man and Durant’s former teammate, Oklahoma City definitely made a statement to Durant and to the city of Washington.

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