The Kevin Durant to the Wizards talk has earned by far its biggest audience this week, after Durant’s somewhat innocuous comments about his great love of Washington. That led to headlines and polls, and SportsCenter teases, and — Wednesday afternoon — to the lead segment on PTI.
Michael Wilbon read Durant’s quote about Washington — that the city “is a part of me, it’s in my blood” — and then asked Jason Whitlock what he makes of that quote.
“I make of it that it’s two years off and we’re already talking about it, which somewhat annoys me, but I also make of it that Kevin Durant’s probably going home,” Whitlock said. “And we need to recognize something about this generation of young people: They like to represent their area codes. The 317, where I’m from. What is it, the 306 where LeBron’s from….”
“202 or 301, depending on whether KD is going to be in the nation’s capital or Maryland,” Wilbon continued. “Look, they’re laying the foundation, the Wizards are. They’ve done all the right things. They could have jumped in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes this summer; they didn’t. And Carmelo’s not from New York. He’s from Baltimore, which is a whole lot closer to Washington than New York. But they didn’t, because they’re trying to gather all their resources and clear out a big pile of money…when it comes time to offer Kevin Durant the money.
“Now, a few years ago I remember talking to Kevin Durant,” Wilbon went on. “And at that time, as a young man, coming home was daunting to him, and it should be. Because the demands in greater Washington D.C. on Kevin Durant, they are enormous. And it will be to be a savior of basketball here. He grew up watching the Bullets and Wizards. He is now old enough and mature enough, I think — and I believe he feels this way too — to entertain that notion. If the Wizards come to get him, he’s ready. But this is a dilemma. He loves Oklahoma City, but he also loves his hometown.”
“We talk a lot about how the NBA is slanted towards big-market teams,” Whitlock said. “This mindset of representing your hometown may be the equalizer in all this. These guys want to play in their hometown, want to rep where they come from.”
“Can you see him in a Washington uniform and leaving OKC?” Wilbon asked.
“Absolutely,” Whitlock said. “And I can see it being a very big deal, and I can see him releasing a statement — I’m coming home — to loud applause.”
“John Wall, Bradley Beal….that could be pretty good,” Wilbon said.
Yes, it could.
(For an explanation of how this all might actually make sense, read Grantland’s Andrew Sharp.)