LeBron James Urges Kevin Durant To Try Free Agency

05.02.14 3 years ago
Kevin Durant, LeBron James

Kevin Durant, LeBron James (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

After the Oklahoman published their “Mr. Unreliable” headline heard ’round the world, Kevin Durant went out and helped the Thunder win Game 6 in true MVP fashion. Except, when asked about the headline from yesterday, LeBron James echoed every Thunder fan’s absolute worst fear.

ESPN Heat Index scribe Michael Wallace passed along LeBron’s thoughts on the headline:

It seems like only yesterday KD was humbly tweeting out news of his max extension with the Thunder during the same summer that saw James tumble into infamy at a Greenwich Boys and Girls club.

But KD’s contract ends in the summer of 2016, right before he turns 28. He’ll be at his absolute apex in terms of experience and maturation as a basketball player and that’s after one of the greatest seasons in NBA history this year. KD has never been a free agent, he’s never gotten the “Dwight Howard treatment,” as Melo has referred to his upcoming wining and dining schmooze-fest in free agency this July. Maybe the unfair expectations, the loss of James Harden in a cash-strapped small-market city and a single headline forces KD to look at the prospect of free agency in a new light?

James knew exactly what to say to rankle OKC fans, and — presumably — the editorial staff at the Oklahoman, because the summer of ’16 has to be in the back of the mind of every Thunder fan while this current collection of athletic freaks (Russell Westbrook), defensive wizards around the rim (Serge Ibaka) and the second best player in the world, try and reach the top of the mountain. If they fail this season, and Sam Presti keeps the same group around next year, only to again fall short, what then? Just one year left before Durant is the most sought-after free agent since James — maybe more so.

It’s a fine line between the haves and have-nots in the NBA, and you’re always just one trade, one injury, one departing free agent from sinking to lottery depths or scaling the edge of the Larry O’Brien trophy. Ask Cleveland fans. We think the people who work at the Oklahoman have realized their mistake after the backlash, but everything an OKC basketball fan cherishes can be snatched away before you can say, “Mr. Unreliable.” Interestingly, it took the summer of 2010s persona non grata to remind some OKC fans just how fast things can change.

Is there any way KD leaves OKC in the summer of 2016?

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