ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Sports and Recreation»
  • Team Sports

Could Kevin Durant Leave the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Updated on May 28, 2013

He is one of the best players in the NBA. Teams wish they had him and the Oklahoma City Thunder feel fortunate they do. However, after yet another playoff failure is the patience of Kevin Durant beginning to wear down in his quest to finally win a championship?

Russell Westbrook injury magnified loss of James Harden

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden | Source

As the second seed in the West, most people fully expected Oklahoma City to challenge the mighty San Antonio Spurs once again for supremacy. That all changed when star point guard Russell Westbrook went down with a torn meniscus in his knee. Without him running the floor, it was only a matter of time before teams figured out the truth about the Thunder. Outside of Durant they have no true scoring threat without Westbrook. That is exactly what the Memphis Grizzlies discovered. Using their suffocating defense they frustrated Durant throughout the divisional playoffs. In three out of five games during the series he scored under his regular season average of 28 points. Oklahoma City failed to crack 100 points in any of those games.

People will look back and think the Westbrook injury was the single reason the Thunder fell apart. However, that entire scenario really grew roots back in the off-season when the front office was forced into a difficult decision to either retain forward Serge Ibaka or extend rather than trade star bench man James Harden. Though not a starter, Harden averaged 16 points per game the season before. He was a main cog in their offensive attack. In the end, Oklahoma City felt the deal offered to them by the Houston Rockets was too good to pass up. They dealt Harden and kept Ibaka, believing with Durant and Westbrook they had enough scoring potential to win.

Their mistake didn’t become apparent until later in the season. It was an unspoken feeling, but the Thunder just didn’t seem like the juggernaut they were a year ago despite winning lots of games. Meanwhile Harden became a major boost for the Rockets, averaging 26 points per game as a starter. When Oklahoma City knocked Houston out of the playoffs it seemed like the Thunder made the right call. Then Westbrook went down. Without another scorer on the team they were helpless. Memphis shut them down and cruised to a series victory in five games.

NBA Trade becomes more realistic with every failure


A year ago it was inconceivable that Durant might leave the Thunder. He’d been with the team since the franchise drafted him in Seattle and had watched him blossom into a superstar after they made the move to Oklahoma City. Yet after three scoring titles, four All-Star appearances, Rookie of the Year and a gold medal the 24-year old is running out of personal career milestones to achieve. He hasn’t won a championship of any kind since his days in high school for the PG Jaguars. His lone year in college met with an early exit in the NCAA tournament. Since then not much has changed. The Thunder are very good and get very close but they, just like the great Supersonics teams of the past, can’t get over the hump.

Free agency is not something to think about at this point. Oklahoma City handed Durant a five-year, $86 million extension back in 2010. That means he would have to wait until 2016 to consider a move. That is a long time to wait. As good as the Thunder still are, can Durant accept the possibility of three more seasons without a ring? His only other avenue of escape would be a trade. If Dwight Howard caused a media circus, one can only imagine what unfolds if Oklahoma City received a similar demand for a deal to a new team from their star.

The logistics alone that would go into such a trade are mind boggling. Given Durant is 24-years old and entering his prime, and that he’s already one of if not the best scorer in the league, there is no doubt a team would have to pay through the nose to get him. Theoretically, are there any teams in position for such a move? The New York Knicks might have pieces the Thunder like what with Carmelo Anthony (another great scorer), Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. The Brooklyn Nets have a nice, young core of talent with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Wallace. One team that might have the best trade package is the Chicago Bulls. Outside of Derrick Rose they have two All-Stars in Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, a rising bench man in Jimmy Butler, ACB league MVP Nikola Mirotic and a valuable draft pick from the Charlotte Bobcats. Though the price is steep, the idea of Rose and Durant pairing together is something Bulls fans dream about.

Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets figure to offer future problems

Nuggets pose a real threat in the West
Nuggets pose a real threat in the West | Source

All that being said the status quo is unchanged. Durant has no plans to leave Oklahoma City and the team should return healthy and ready for another run next season. That doesn’t mean their road to a championship lay wide open. The San Antonio Spurs are proving as dangerous as always, not to mention looming threats posed by the upstart Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets. The Thunder essentially have at least another season to get it right before their star scorer begins to feel that itch to try someplace else. It may take one and a half seasons but sooner or later Durant will begin to believe, true or not, that finding a new team is his best hope to get that ring.

How many more early playoff exits before Durant considers asking for a trade?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Very true. He's only 24 but you also have to remember he's already played six seasons. One or two more disappointing ends in the playoffs can have a bad effect on the psyche.

    • agilitymach profile image

      Kristin Kaldahl 4 years ago

      Durant is still young. You don't see desperation for championships in sports until the athlete has started to notice his or her age. He's not desperate yet. That may come, but not now nor in the near future. He's got a good head on his shoulders and understands that the Thunder is still a young franchise being built.

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      There is no doubt he fits that city and he should stay, but you have to admit it must be hard staying there while watching LeBron James switch teams and immediately win two championships. If Durant ends up doing it for OKC, he will be universally celebrated, but you can't deny it's only getting harder.

    • agilitymach profile image

      Kristin Kaldahl 4 years ago

      I live in Oklahoma City. Durant LOVES it here. OKC rocks an arena like no other NBA city in the nation. Plus, as Durant has already learned, OKC has the best, most loving people around. We may lack in a lot of areas, but are people are tops.

      Durant is a smart kid. He knows that championships take time and that team building is a process. He understands the business of the NBA. He also knows when he's got it good, and in OKC, he's got it great.

      He won't be leaving any time soon. The local media here, who obviously have an "in" with the team, aren't even worried about it.

      Durant is a Thunder-man, and I'm hoping a franchise player for his career.

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Take a breath, my man. They have two first round picks this year. If they put them to good use and Westbrook comes back healthy, they are clear favorites to win the west this coming season. Their younger legs and experience should also be an unwelcome sight if they see the Heat again.

    • profile image

      grandmathunder 4 years ago

      Please Kevin Durant do not leave the Thunder,your time is this year coming up,the Thunder will win the Championship.I realize you cannot do it on your own.All the team members need to get together and realize you are all part of a big family .Westbrook is coming back this season and together you will win,please do not leave not yet.Please!

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      The thing about Westbrook and Harden was they can create their own offense. Martin scores that many points but usually doesn't with set up shots. Ibaka and Perkins are great defenders but can't spark any offensive rhythm. That meant it was all on Durant. That is not how you win in the playoffs.

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I really thought the Thunder would overcome the loss of Westbrook. I mean, they have arguably the best scorer in the league in Durant, a solid frontcourt in Ibaka and Perkins, and solid contributors from the bench like Martin, Collison, etc. Even the loss of Harden wasn't that glaring because Martin had been such a good contributor from the bench averaging 14-something points. So, overall, Westbrook is just one part of a great team. But after his injury, they just looked flustered and lost. I suppose it really took them off guard, and they couldn't compose themselves.

      As for Durant staying in OKC, he really seems committed to the team, and vice versa. But this is a business and one never knows. But considering that this isn't a big market team, I really don't see the Thunder shopping him around anytime soon. As for him wanting to stay, if he wins a championship in the next 2-3 years, it's possible he might stay longer. If he doesn't, maybe the bright lights of another city could entice him. Who knows.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)