Kevin Durant signed a 5 year / $89.16 million dollar contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder which makes him an unrestricted free agent in 2016. The Washington Wizards seem to be setting the table to try and snag the four-time scoring champ with the moves that they are making right now.
Durant was born in Washington, D.C. and has always referred to the area as his home. Since LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony either reverted or stayed in the cities that they considered home in Cleveland and New York City respectively, the “going back home” movement seem to be trending and the Wizards are doing everything in their power to capitalize on the situation to coax the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player to Washington.
When Flip Saunders was the head coach of the Wizards, he hired his son Ryan Sanders to his coaching staff.
In January 2012, Saunders was fired as the coach and was replaced by former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Randy Wittman. Ryan remained on the Wizards pay roll, but when his father was named the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves in June (Flip was already the Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Operations), Sanders made the switch and decided to join his father in Minnesota. This left a vacancy on Washington’s coaching staff.
Wittman hired David Adkins as a player development assistant. Adkins, age 50, was an assistant on Brenda Frese’s coaching staff with the University of Maryland women’s basketball team for the past five years and helped the Terrapins reach the 2014 Final Four. Even though this is a very interesting subject and looks good on a resume, what he did before this stint at U of M is the more intriguing story on why he might have been hired on the Wizards’ coaching staff.
I’ve known Adkins for more than a decade — and he’ll be very good in the NBA. He’s also CLOSE with Kevin Durant. Smart move by Wizards.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 16, 2014
Adkins was a longtime high school boys’ basketball assistant coach at DeMatha Catholic and Montrose Christian, places where he worked with current NBA players like Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez, Orlando Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo and the most important player in the Wizards quest in 2016, NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
Who else sees Wizards’ hire of one of Kevin Durant’s HS coaches (David Adkins) as another sign Wiz are already prepping for 2016 run at KD?
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
Durant could look to team up with players like LeBron did, or he could depart the Thunder to help bring a championship team to his hometown team or another franchise, but no one will know until he hits the market. OKC obviously will do all they can to keep him, but if the team doesn’t win a championship before then, there is a chance he could leave.
There isn’t any concrete evidence that the Adkins hiring is a calculated move to draw Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder and lure him back to his hometown. He hasn’t even stated that he was thinking about leaving OKC when free agency comes around in two years, but the Adkins hiring might have helped open the door. It also doesn’t hurt for Wizards fans to dream big for the future.