Ah, free agency is upon us. Time for fans everywhere to hold their breath and just pray that their team doesn’t do anything stupid and maybe signs a franchise player or two. Or anxiously pace as Kevin Durant gets ready to make his decision. I’ll be doing the latter because I have absolutely no faith in the New Orleans Pelicans front office to land anyone. I don’t think they’re even trying half the time.
But I digress. The 2016 NBA free agency period should prove to be a great one. Whenever two All-Stars like Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside get to choosing a team, people usually take note. In fact, they’ve completely overshadowed the fact that Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah are also on the market this offseason.
For Whiteside, it’s simple. He’s a basketball-playing businessman. Whiteside is more interested in a hefty sum of cash than anything else, and he’s giving the nod to states with no income tax. Only Florida and Texas-based teams would be able to offer him that luxury, so maybe re-signing with the Miami Heat isn’t out of the question if Pat Riley opens up his wallet.
“I really don’t think it’s about loyalty—I think it’s just about the best situation for myself,” said Whiteside. “I didn’t say [Miami] wasn’t the best situation, but we’re going to see what happens. It’s not like I’m really counting the Heat out or counting on another team. It’s just open. I find it flattering because in my past, I was trying to call those teams, and now it’s the other way around. It’s a flattering experience, and I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
As it stands now, the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, and Heat are Whiteside’s top five suitors. The former D-League player would like to make his decision by July 1, so teams still have a few days to pitch themselves.
Maybe Whiteside should look for a smaller market. A $100 million contract would go a lot farther in Milwaukee than New York or Miami. Hell, even Dallas would be a little better.
At the end of the day, Durant’s decision is the biggest of the year. Durant’s decision is arguably the most prominent since LeBron James’ TV special “The Decision” when he announced he was joining the Miami Heat.
All 30 teams would be glad to sign Durant; however, not everyone will get the honor of meeting with the superstar. In fact, the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards have both been denied meetings despite rumors that circulated earlier this season.
Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat are the only teams who have been granted a meeting. Durant is also reconsidering the New York Knicks after they acquire Derrick Rose.
I have no idea where Durant is going to end up. I don’t think his mom knows. Hell, he probably doesn’t even know yet, but please, for the love of God, don’t go to the Warriors or Spurs. These two teams won 73 and 67 games this season, respectively. Durant is worth 40 or so wins a season by himself. That would put the Warriors at 113 wins and the Spurs at 107. There’re only 82 games. Durant would destroy the league and logic in his quest for a ring.
Okay, sure, I’m exaggerating, but it wouldn’t be fair, and you know it. If you want to ring chase with a new squad, try the Knicks or Heat. Pairing up with Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose or Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade would make either of those teams a championship contender overnight without making Durant look desperate by choosing the teams already at the top of the league.
Do the right thing for the sport. Make a new team compete with the Warriors and Spurs. How about the Pelicans?
Kevin Durant went over to the Golden State Warriors. You can read about the full deal here.
Hassan Whiteside has said that he’ll return to the Miami Heat.