Kevin Durant is "Gone" if the Thunder Don't Make the NBA Finals, Announcer Says

By Jason McIntyre

Of all the bizarre Kevin Durant theories about his impending free agency in July, this one may be the strangest: The Voice of New Orleans Pelicans, Joel Meyers, went on Sirius radio and said that Kevin Durant is leaving the Thunder if they don’t make the NBA Finals.

"I made some calls over the weekend, Vinny. If they don’t, I’m told if they don’t at least get to the NBA Finals, Durant’s gone. Simple as that. And to the point where he may want his own team. So everybody’s talking about Golden State. There may be other teams coming into the equation for Kevin Durant. He’s the principle. He’s going to be the guy. So from what I’ve been told, it may not be Golden State after all. Everybody thought it was, like, ‘Well, maybe he can slide in there, and they won’t match whoever makes an offer to Harrison Barnes. So it frees up that cap space that they would have given to Harrison Barnes.’ But the calls I took, and some of the people I talked to over the weekend being in the building, it’s not such a deadlock. As much as we all love Kevin Durant with Russell Westbrook, watch it now, because there’s a real strong possibility it’s their last season together in OKC."

There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with this: Who the hell is Joel Meyers? He spent a long time in Los Angeles as an announcer for the Dodgers, Angels, Raiders and Lakers, among others. So he probably has some connections in LA.

It’s safe to assume someone in the Lakers organization is feeding him something. Or it’s an informed opinion, one which many folks could make because if the Thunder are bounced anytime before the Finals, would they be considered a contender heading into 2016-2017? Houston made the Western Conference Finals last year and look at them now.

Above all, Durant wants to play for a contender, and that’s something the Lakers are not. D'Angelo Russell is a stud, Jordan Clarkson is a nice young player, and LA could wind up with the 1st pick in the draft (possibly Ben Simmons of LSU).

But that lineup – with no coach, by the way – is still years away from contending. Why would Durant want to wait years to win a title, when he could do it in 2017 with the Warriors?