Excited for the return of Kevin Durant to Oklahoma City this coming season? Just sick of the story line that will be Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors versus Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder? Their eventual showdown in OKC looks like it will be deep into the NBA season, according to reports from Marc Stein and Royce Young of ESPN.com.
Stein is reporting that Durant and the Warriors won't find their way to play a road game against the Thunder until February 11 this upcoming season. Young says that this will likely be the tip-off of ABC's coverage of Saturday night primetime games. It doesn't mean they won't face each other earlier in the season, but that match-up would be located in Oakland, California, where there is a bit less drama involved.
Story going online now: League sources say Oklahoma City is tentatively scheduled to play host to Kevin Durant for the first time on Feb. 11— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 8, 2016
Durant's first game against OKC tentatively set for Nov. 3. First game in OKC, Feb. 11: https://t.co/vzO13TxOYU— Royce Young (@royceyoung) August 8, 2016
As with most scheduling things around big-time matchups, this is definitely television driven. When the NBA is ready to kick off those Saturday games this season as primetime viewing and get casual fans interested in tuning in to possibly make this part of their viewing routine, having a marquee matchup like this makes a lot of sense for the league and their television partners.
Durant's return to OKC will mean a lot of booing and a lot of think pieces leading up to the showdown. What did he mean to the community? How has that city moved on without him as the face of basketball in OKC? How is Russell Westbrook taking the reins of being this new leading face and where can the Thunder possibly go from there? These will be the main narratives heading into this showdown, and it looks like we'll have plenty of time to see them build up during the season.