We all have probably gone down the rabbit hole at one point of what the next five years in the NBA would look like if the Thunder hadn’t blown a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in the western conference finals or if the Warriors hadn’t blown a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers and won back-to-back NBA titles.
Would Kevin Durant still have signed with the Warriors? Would he have re-signed with the Thunder? Or would he have signed somewhere else?
Durant himself admitted in a Rolling Stone profile of himself before the season that he “damn sure” wouldn’t have signed with the Golden State Warriors in free agency if they had won the 2016 NBA title.
A story that came out on ESPN Tuesday hypothesizes where Durant would have ended up had the Warriors won their second championship in a row.
Here is a statement from Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Reporter, about the Celtics internal feelings and the feelings shared by many around the league of Durant’s decision making process this past summer:
“…And, in the aftermath, many sources around the NBA come to believe this: Boston might have landed Durant had the Warriors won the Finals — as Durant wouldn’t want to have looked like a man hopping aboard a dynasty.”
Although this is all pure speculation in its most extreme form, as Durant didn’t even have to consider the possibility of joining a team that had won back-to-back titles by the time he entered free agency as that wasn’t the reality, it is still fun to wonder whether this would have been the case.
Would the Celtics still have found a way to get Al Horford? They most definitely would have dealt the No. 3 pick for a veteran. Imagine a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Kevin Durant, Jae Crowder and Al Horford, that is scary and probably as good or better than the Cavaliers.
Who knows, maybe if the Warriors had won the title Durant would have just gone back to OKC, making the Celtics never really the No. 1 option. Imagining a Celtics-Cavaliers eastern conference finals is pretty fun though, not quite as fun as the Cavaliers-Warriors trilogy with Durant in tow.
This is one alternate reality NBA question we will never have an answer to.