The recent trade for Cleveland’s Dion Waiters may be a sign of desperation for the Oklahoma City Thunder who currently is struggling to get into the playoff hunt. The Thunder is 17-18 and is a full three games behind the Phoenix Suns for the 8 seed with 47 games left in the season.
Kevin Durant is a year and a half away from testing the free agent market that likely will have big players Phil Jackson of the Knicks, Pat Riley of the Heat, and Ernie Grunfield of the Wizards.
Waiters is an offensive weapon the Thunder has been desperately in need of since the departure of James Harden. He is not as good as James, but certainly has plenty of upside to develop. Waiters is more than just a guy who will provide offense off the bench. If Durant does decide to leave in 2016, Waiters moves into the starting lineup as the #2 scoring option.
Grunfield has the advantage of selling the hometown and if the Wizards go deep into the playoffs he could sell championship hopes in an Eastern Conference many see as weak. Sam Presti’s biggest sell will be loyalty, money,and playoff memories. Unfortunately that won’t compare to what Phil Jackson and Pat Riley will throw in Durant’s face.
Phil Jackson is going to sell his mind, his rings, and championship glory. The big issue in the way is the Knicks spending and talent. They got rid of clubhouse cancer JR Smith and backup guard Iman Shumpert. The only talent left would be Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Knicks are rebuilding and this could push away Durant.
Pat Riley is a class act and he is going to bring professionalism, rings, glory, and his entourage. When Riley recruits its like a scene out of He Got Game, except its less like college and more like the grownup championship caliber. The Heat have two years to add pieces they need for a new run and they likely will bring in Kevin Durant plus one more star to tour Miami. Wade, Bosh, Zo, highlight reels, the beaches, the rings, the banners, and the highlight reels are going to be flashing in the summer of 2016.