The conventional wisdom about Kevin Durant's free agency is that, while he has not made a decision, the most likely outcome is clear: a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a player option on the second year. This would give Durant a chance to sign a long-term deal next summer when the salary cap rises again, and it would let him at least have the option of going elsewhere if his Russell Westbrook leaves in 2017. According to the Sporting News' Sean Deveney, this scenario is not necessarily his preference:
Sources around the league say Durant's choice is not that simple.
"He is not the kind of guy who wants to fiddle around in free agency and sort of play the system that way," said one source who has worked with Durant. "That is not his personality. He likes stability and it is kind of a gamble to be taking a short contract and then trying to come back and do it all over again in a year. That's the other thing. He is not someone who wants to go through this twice, I really don't think. It's no sure thing."
Financially, Durant's decision seems obvious. A long-term contract next summer could start at about $38.5 million next year as opposed to $27 million. The only thing that could put that in jeopardy is a career-altering injury. If I was Rich Kleiman, Durant's agent, this is what I would want him to do. As the Sporting News' source said, though, there's no guarantee he will be OK with going through this whole circus again.
There has been speculation about Durant's future going back to last season, and it got louder with Durant in a contract year. Signing a five-year deal in Oklahoma City or elsewhere would silence all of that. Signing a short-term one would be asking for more of it.
Last summer, there were rumblings that many free agents would sign short deals so they could take advantage of the rising cap. Instead, the vast majority of them -- including stars Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan -- signed four- or five-year deals. Durant may very well go the same route, ensuring that he doesn't have to think about free agency for a long time.