There might soon be 300 million more reasons why Kevin Durant will be tempted to return to the Washington D.C. area in two years.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Durant’s representation from Roc Nation Sports told Nike that Durant has been offered a 10-year deal with Under Armour worth between $265-$285 million.
What does this possibly have to do with Durant playing for his hometown Washington Wizards beginning in 2016? Under Armour is a Baltimore-based company and its headquarters are just 36 miles from Seat Pleasant, Md., where Durant grew up and played high school ball. The Under Armour deal would include stock and other incentives, such as a community center built in the name of Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt.
Ever since LeBron James chose to return home to northeast Ohio and re-join the Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA media, fans, players, sponsors and executives have hypothesized Durant will do the same, return to his Maryland roots and sign with the Wizards as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016.
Forget the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The six degrees of separation theory will revolve around Durant until his contract with the Thunder expires on June 30, 2016. People will connect every dot that might possibly lead to Durant signing along the dotted line with the Wizards.
For example, the Wizards hired David Adkins as a player development assistant last month. Adkins was an assistant coach at Montrose Christian when Durant played there, sparking more chatter on how the Wizards are positioning themselves to lure Durant away from OKC.
Connect the dots ...
The Thunder will do all it can financially to keep Durant, offering him a maximum salary (30 percent of the salary cap) with maximum raises for the maximum five years in his next contract.
Potential endorsement deals shouldn’t hurt the Thunder’s chances of re-signing KD. A $300-million deal is the same whether Durant lives in OKC or D.C. If anything, $300 million spends much better here than there.
Claims that playing in the league’s third-smallest television market have hurt Durant’s marketability are hogwash. If that’s the case, why did KD have more TV commercial appearances than any NBA player last season (with 69, according to HoopsHype last January)? And why is Durant now in position to land this monster deal with Under Armour while still living in OKC?
We can plead for people to stop playing “Six Degrees of KD” and trying to connect the dots, but this will continue until KD no longer is contractually bound to the Thunder.
Two seasons is a long time. Think back to what happened the previous two seasons. Fresh off an NBA Finals appearance, Thunder U was penciled in to win a title at any time. Four months later. James Harden was traded to Houston; Russell Westbrook had three knee surgeries in an eight-month span; 20-year-old Steven Adams became a cult hero back home in New Zealand; and OKC hasn’t been back to the Finals since.
If the Thunder wins a title in the next two seasons, why wouldn’t Durant want to remain in OKC and try to add more championships alongside Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Adams, et al?
Why would Durant possibly want to leave one of the NBA’s premier franchises just to return home?
Oh, wait, now we’re back to LeBron James. Um, nevermind.