It didn’t take long for Kevin Durant’s impending free agency to become the NBA’s storyline of the moment. After the Oklahoma City Thunder got crushed 96-88 by the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 on Monday night, reporters wasted no time pressing the seven-time All-Star for answers as to where he’ll be playing next year.
“I mean, we just lost like 30 minutes ago, so I haven’t even thought about it,” Durant said during the post-game presser.
We get it, Kevin. You’ve got a lot to process right now. So we did you a favour; we thought about it for you. Below are six reasons you should sign with the Toronto Raptors this summer. (Get it? Six? Because The 6ix.) You’re going to want to make a decision sooner than later, because your agent’s phone is about to get more calls than Drake’s exes did when the Raptors got eliminated last week.
1. The Boy Is His Boy
It’s no secret Kevin Durant is tight with Drake. For the last couple years, he’s attended the rapper’s annual OVO Fest in Toronto. The first time, Drizzy asked the crowd to demonstrate what it would sound like if the OKC superstar played for the Raptors. Since the rapper is the team’s global ambassador, the Raps were fined $25,000 for the recruitment attempt. (We’re sure Champagne Papi helped with the bill.)
His following year at OVO Fest, Durant made headlines for his choice of attire, a Toronto Blue Jays jersey, and his choice of company, DeMar DeRozan.
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) August 4, 2015
Oh, and there’s also the fact that Drake conveniently namedropped KD on his latest album Views. On “Weston Road Flows,” he spits: “A lot of people just hit me up when my name is mentioned/Shout out to KD we relate we get the same attention/It’s rainin’ money, Oklahoma City Thunder/The most successful rapper 35 and under.”
Word is Durant felt like he’d finally made it after hearing the nod. Real talk, though: you made it a while back, bro.
2. He’ll Dominate the Eastern Conference
LeBron James is about to make his sixth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. One major reason for King James’s continued reign? He’s spent his entire career playing in the league’s weaker conference. Unlike the crowded, competitive West, even the better teams in the East have no real answer for LBJ. Case in point: the casual manner with which the Cavs swatted aside the Pistons, Hawks and Raptors in quick succession this spring.
Durant playing in Toronto would change all of that. Not only would he make the Raptors an immediate threat to finally topple Cleveland from their Eastern Conference throne, but he’d have a far easier path through both the regular season and playoffs than he’s ever had in OKC — no more battling past stacked teams like the Mavericks and the Spurs just to make it out of the early rounds.
3. Toronto Isn’t Oklahoma City
In 2011, Durant explained to journalist Bethlehem Shoals that OKC’s low-key, distraction-free setting was “a perfect situation that fits [his] personality.” But that was back when Durant was just 23 years old — barely a functioning adult. You’re a man now, KD. You can handle a few extra diversions and not allow them to affect your on-court performance.
And as far as that goes, you don’t really need us to explain all the advantages of living in the fourth-largest (and arguably most diverse) city in North America versus the capital of the 28th most populous state in the United States. The restaurants, the nightlife, the shopping, the culture — The 6ix wins on every count.
4. He Actually Likes the Snow
This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto just happened to coincide with the coldest day the city’s felt in 20 years. The -25 degrees Celsius clime didn’t help change the bias among many NBA superstars that the 6ix is a frozen, uninhabitable tundra.
Durant, however, embraced the chilly weather, saying that it evoked fond memories of visiting the city. “My rookie year, we came here and there was a huge snowstorm,” he told TSN. “I got caught outside in the snow. That’s one of my all-time fondest memories of being in Toronto.”
5. Kraft Dinner Could Sponsor Him
KD eating KD? Come on now. That’s marketing gold right there.
6. He’s Long Dreamt of Playing in Toronto
Further reinforcing our belief that KD playing in Toronto is etched into destiny, the small forward has stated that he wanted to play for the Raptors while growing up.
“Believe it or not, I wanted to play for the Toronto Raptors, that was my favorite team,” he told The Dan Patrick Show a few years ago. “They were a new team when I was growing up, so I wanted to be a part of that.”
Another big reason Durant cheered for the Raps was the fact that Vince Carter played here. “His enthusiasm he showed, just his athleticism, and how he brought Toronto from being one of the newer teams in the league to almost going to the finals. He changed the culture there in Toronto.”
And you can too, Kevin. You can too.