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Not Afraid to Beg: Ranking NBA Cities’ Efforts to Lure Kevin Durant

Getty Images
Getty Images

Kevin Durant is about to be, at long last, a free agent, and just about every team in the league has shown interest: Primary suspects to pursue him include the Wizards, Heat, Celtics, Rockets, Spurs, Warriors, Knicks, Lakers, and, of course, the Thunder. The seven-time All-Star has said he isn’t interested in going on a recruitment tour, so enterprising fans and would-be teammates have been left to find other channels to pitch their respective cities. (If you want a glimpse into the tortured psyche of NBA fans, do a Twitter search for “durant” and “come to.”)

Below, a highly unscientific ranking of cities’ efforts to entice KD away from OKC. (Wherever he lands, fans at least seem united in one thing: He had better apologize to Lil B first.)

Honorable mentions: Atlanta, Orlando

Realist fans in Atlanta and Orlando have promised Durant only what they can give (namely, sadness and Butterbeer).

Eighth place: Philadelphia

Joel Embiid is hard at work recruiting KD to the Colangelo regime, which — uhhhh, wait, what did you say? Hold that thought.

Seventh place: Toronto

North America’s lost puppy, Drake, is always eager to lend a hand, and he was out of the gates before anyone else: He tried to lure Durant to “the 6” during a 2014 concert. “I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto,” he said while onstage. “Let him know what would happen.” This, it turns out, is tampering! The NBA fined the Raptors $25,000.

Fifth place (tie): Miami and San Antonio

“Durant to Eat?” Florida has seen worse. At least the guy wearing Spurs stuff was at a Spurs game.

Fourth place: Boston

Celtics fans got things going in March, when they chanted “come to Boston” with all the charm of the Borg during the Thunder’s visit to TD Garden. Patriots defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has made no secret of his plans to woo KD, while Isaiah Thomas tweeted (and then deleted) a shamrock next to Durant’s no. 35. Even the local meteorologist is on board.

As Baaahstaan’s own Marky Mark said in 2014: “Kay-Deah would look real good in green, wouldn’t ‘e?”

Read Bill Simmons on Kevin Durant’s pending free agency on The Ringer:

Third place: Indiana

Pacers fans, bolstered by the ingenious #kevINDYrant hashtag, are doing their very best to get Durant to Indiana.

Fans point to two hints that suggest he might do well there: his affection for Myles Turner and his preference for Pacers forward Paul George over the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard.

“We’re fully aware we don’t have a chance to land him,” says SB Nation’s Whitney Medworth, who co-founded the movement with Hector Diaz. “But it’s not going to stop us from trying.”

Second place: Washington

It’s a reasonable enough line of thinking: The nation’s capital is Durant’s hometown; John Wall has made it clear that he wants to play with him; and the team could become an instant contender in the Eastern Conference. So the only reason KD wouldn’t want to join the Wizards must be money, right? If fans could just pull something together — say, an extra $20 million — there is simply no way Durant could resist the call of the District. Enter D.C. rapper Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs (not to be confused with Paperboy Prince of the Cool Hip City), who has launched a GoFundMe to do just that. (Since this fund cannot actually contribute to KD’s contract, it has pledged to use the money to buy Wizards tickets for D.C.–area kids.)

Unfortunately, the KD2DC movement, uh, well, hasn’t taken off just yet. (At press time, he was still $19,999,916 short.) Still, points for effort.

First place: Sacramento

Shut it down. The best offer has come in from Sacramento.

Only a madman would turn down a lifetime of Double-Doubles. Do the right thing, KD.