With the 2015-16 NBA campaign officially in the books for the Oklahoma City Thunder, superstar Kevin Durant will have a major decision to make this summer with the veteran forward becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
At this point, all signs point to Durant simply re-signing with the Thunder shortly after free agency gets underway next month. The Thunder star appears to have more to gain by signing a short-term deal with Oklahoma City to opt out next summer and ink a deal in the neighborhood of $200 million.
Although it may only be a matter of time before Durant commits to Oklahoma City, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has some thoughts on what the perennial All-Star should do this summer. Bryant made an appearance at NBA 2K16 Road to the Finals Championship in Los Angeles on Wednesday night and in an interview with Alysha Tsuji of For The Win if he had any advice for the 27-year-old with free agency drawing near:
Yeah, I mean, you know, you’ve just got to look at it holistically. What does he want out of his career, what opportunities present themselves, even I — when I was a free agent — I did my due diligence, I looked at every opportunity and I left no stone unturned, so you have to vet those things. I was just very fortunate things worked out for me in Los Angeles, but he certainly needs to look at every opportunity and make the right decision for himself — keeping in mind his fan base in Oklahoma, as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be one of many teams trying to pry Kevin Durant away from the Thunder this summer. Durant will be the biggest name on the open market with teams hoping he at least considers making a change come July.
After taking the Warriors the distance in the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City wants one more shot at competing for an NBA title with Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way. The Thunder came within one win from reaching the NBA Finals for the second time in the Durant-Westbrook era and may have taken the next step to being in the same conversation with Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers as a result.
With Westbrook set to hit free agency next summer, it will likely be all or nothing for the Thunder next season if Durant chooses to sign a two-year deal with an opt-out in the second year. There’s a good chance Durant and Westbrook could head elsewhere with the Lakers a potential destination if Oklahoma City can’t get over the hump during the 2016-17 NBA season.