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Ignoring Kevin Durant's departure won't make it go away

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Westbrook Lifts Thunder To OT Win



Did you know that ostriches don't actually bury their heads in the sand?

It's true, despite it's use as an expression to describe self-imposed ignorance. Ostriches simply bury eggs underground and occasionally dive down to make sure everything's fine with their future offspring.

I bring this up not just to debunk the myth but also because this feels like the rallying cry of Oklahoma City Thunder fans when considering Kevin Durant's upcoming free agency. Thunder fans groan loudly when "KD2DC" talk gains steam, as it recently did before Durant's lone appearance against his hometown Wizards.

It reminds me of something Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet..."The lady doth protest too much."

Complaining about the possibility of Durant returning home comes across as masking an all-too-real fear, like the proverbial whistling past a graveyard. Dismissing the chances of leaving OKC in 2016 because it's 'too far away' is disingenuous. No one regrets when Sam Presti and the Thunder front office make moves to bring a championship now while trading away future assets.

And while OKC has become "home" to Durant, the reality is that it isn't.

Stay connected with Thunderous Intentions

To his credit, KD has never publicly entertained the notion of playing in Washington. He's even gone the opposite route, explaining the hassle that comes from playing in the arena near where he was raised; when Durant and the Thunder visit the Wizards, ticket requests from friends and family can become overwhelming.

However, not talking about it does nothing to dismiss the possibility. His ties to the area and his fandom of local NFL and MLB teams are well-documented. Durant's mother, Wanda Pratt, explained that she still roots "for the Wizards when they're not playing my son." That's a pretty solid endorsement, even if it falls well short of being an iron-clad agreement.

The point is that Pratt and Durant hear the noise and can acknowledge it, something many Thunder fans are unwilling to do.

Even writers like ESPN's Royce Young reduce the possibility as "just talk," as if that isn't what drives nearly every major transaction in the NBA. Trading superstars can manifest from simple discussions; free agency explosions like Miami's 2010 assembly allegedly began with players just talking about the possibility.

Ironically enough, it was the Heat signing of LeBron James that arguably provided the most fuel for the Durant-to-Washington possibility. But not because of how James joined Miami but rather because of how recently left.

Young points out that James' return to Cleveland "lit the lamp" about KD joining the Wizards. Young adds that while Durant called LeBron's decision to rejoin the Cavaliers as "classy", he points out that the Thunder superstar is "no follower" and "makes his own decisions."

This might all be true, but James set a precedent that can't be denied. And the nationally-embraced narrative of 'coming home' is an alluring one for players – and for everyone, really – that are often made to feel like exploited property even if they're being paid millions in the process.

Durant might want to set himself apart from James but going to Washington doesn't conflict with that desire. Unlike LeBron's four-year dalliance with the Heat, KD could join the Wizards, transform them into perennial title-contenders and not look back. He never had the option of going home before and, while winning is the ultimate priority, he can do both alongside Washington's young core of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

It's a possibility, and an alluring one, at that. The Thunder franchise has been good to Durant, without a doubt. And playing with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – both under contract through 2017 – can certainly bring a championship banner to the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

But it isn't home and it never will be. And Thunder fans have to accept that regardless of Durant's decision.

You can keep popping your head underground to check the status of Durant's free agency without burying your head in the sand. After all, 2016 is a lot closer than you might think.

Kevin Durant's Career Salary and Contract | FindTheBest

Related links:
OKC Thunder Grades: Wizards run out of Magic
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook hold off Wizards in OT
Forbes ranks OKC Thunder fans second-best in NBA

For more sports coverage, please visit FanSided.com and follow David Ramil on Twitter: @dramil13


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Ignoring Kevin Durant's departure won't make it go away
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings high-fives fans as he exits the ice after warmups before a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at STAPLES Center on January 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Nikolay Kulemin #86 of the New York Islanders shoots against Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, CANADA - JANUARY 13: Evander Kane #9 of the Winnipeg Jets hits the ice prior to puck drop against the Florida Panthers on January 13, 2015 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 13: Matt Ellis #37 of the Buffalo Sabres is checked by Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings on January 13, 2015 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Detroit won, 3-1. (Photo by Rob Marczynski/NHLI via Getty Images)
KREISCHBERG, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 13: A competitor in action during Women's Snowboard Cross training ahead of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships on January 13, 2015 in Kreischberg, Austria (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Al Sahlawi Mohammed of Saudi Arabia celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2015 Asian Cup match between DPR Korea and Saudi Arabia at AAMI Park on January 14, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Amer Almatoug Alfadhel of Kuwait and Lee Keun Ho of Korea Republic contest possession during the 2015 Asian Cup match between Kuwait and Korea Republic at Canberra Stadium on January 13, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Players battle for the ball as snow falls during the FA Cup third round replay match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham at Molineux on January 13, 2015 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Stephen Parry of the Brisbane Heat drops a catch during the BIg Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Brisbane Heat at Etihad Stadium on January 13, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 13: Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots while falling backwards after being fouled by Jeff Newberry #22 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the game at Allen Fieldhouse on January 13, 2015 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Kris Humphries #43 of the Washington Wizards passes the ball around the defense of Jeff Ayres #11 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Verizon Center on January 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 14: Henrik Stenson of Sweden hits his approach shot on his last hole watched by his coach Pete Cowen during the pro-am for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 14, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
WINCANTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: A runner trails the field down the back straight in The Higos Insurance Services Somerton Handicap Hurdle Race at Wincanton racecourse on January 15, 2015 in Wincanton, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created using multiple exposure in camera.) Ze Zhang of China plays a forehand in his first round match against Lleyton Hewitt of Australia during day two of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots makes a catch against LaRon Landry #30 of the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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