- Sources close to Kevin Durant have suggested he plans to join the Lakers next summer
- Will KD really leave the greatest team in NBA history just to play with Lonzo Ball and Michael Beasley?
- How many more titles can Durant win if he remains in Golden State?
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NBA journalist Brandon Robinson created a stir on Twitter yesterday when he reported that Kevin Durant wants to join LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers next summer when he hits free agency.
Spoke to a source today who confirmed Kevin Durant will be a LA Laker next year.
“Just like LeBron planned his move LA a year or more earlier, #KD is doing the same right now. They want to form the best duo in the NBA and set up KD to be the face of the Lakers post-#LeBron.” pic.twitter.com/BWR9TOWPMZ
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) 17 September 2018
It may seem outrageous on the surface, but there are five reasons to take Robinson’s tweet seriously.
1. It Wouldn’t Be the First Time James and Durant Teamed Up
LeBron and KD led the US to gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and, by all accounts, were remarkably tight on and off the court. King James also famously picked Durant first in last season’s NBA All-Star Game.
More recently, the pair have been spotted partying together in Hollywood, and LeBron made a special guest appearance on a new program being produced by Durant.
LeBron James will be surprise guest on first episode of new programming that Kevin Durant is producing, a source told me.
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) September 17, 2018
2. The Lakers Have Gobs of Cap Space
Assuming the Lakers stand pat this season, they’ll enter the summer of 2019 with $38 million in cap space. That’s a big chunk of change and it should be more than enough to satisfy a marquee free agent like Durant.
3. Durant Has a Well Known Affinity for the Lakers
KD has never shied away from expressing his love for the Lakers. The nine-time All-Star singled out the franchise’s fabled “Showtime” squad as his favourite team of all time during a podcast with Bill Simmons in 2017.
Durant also discussed the prospect of joining the Lakers way back in 2014, two years before he hit free agency. At the time, KD didn’t seem to be concerned by the fact he would be joining a team with an established alpha dog in Kobe Bryant. In fact, he seemed thrilled by the prospect of teaming up with the Black Mamba.
“I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level,” Durant told USA Today. “I’d want to play with a guy like that every day.”
4. The Lakers are a Team on the Rise
We won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting the Lakers are better than the Warriors. However, they are considerably younger. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kozma, and Josh Hart are all 23 or younger, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Igoudala, and DeMarcus Cousins are all 28 or older, and are more likely to experience a drop-off in their performance and health over the next few years.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kozma, and Josh Hart are all 23 or younger, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Igoudala, and DeMarcus Cousins are all 28 or older.
It’s crazy to consider, but the Lakers’ young core could have a higher ceiling than their Warriors counterparts. Ball may be the most gifted passer of his generation, Ingram has the look of a perennial All-Star, Kuzma has shared his goal of being a league MVP, and Hart is a heady player who averaged 17 points and 6.3 rebounds over the final month of his rookie season.
5. Durant Has Jumped Ship Before
We live in an era when players change teams almost as often as they change their pants. KD left the only franchise he had ever known back in 2016, and it isn’t hard to imagine him changing his allegiance again.
Will Kevin Durant Join the Lakers in 2018-19?
There are many reasons why KD would consider joining the Lakers, but there’s a far greater reason why he’ll ultimately choose to remain in Golden State for the foreseeable future: rings.
Durant has won two NBA titles in his first two years with the Warriors and was named Finals MVP on both occasions. He’s the best player on arguably the greatest team in history and has an excellent chance of winning at least two more championships before the Warriors fall apart or are broken up.
Loyalty isn’t Durant’s strong suit and he’ll likely move on eventually, but it won’t be while Golden State’s championship window is still wide open.