Durant: Nothing Is Guaranteed

MIAMI — It’s easy to think that this is just the beginning for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are each just 23 years old. James Harden and Serge Ibaka are just 22. So as the NBA media descended upon Oklahoma City earlier this week, we figured it would become a yearly pilgrimage for The Finals. If we missed a good restaurant or didn’t get a chance to see Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum this year, there would be another opportunity next year or the year after.

And seriously, what team in the Western Conference has a chance to unseat this team in the next few years? If the Thunder don’t win this series, they at least took one more step on the ladder this year, just like so many great teams before them.

Well, Durant doesn’t want to hear it.

“That’s the one thing I hate is when people say that,” Durant said. “People are going to say we’ll be here next year or the year after that. But nothing is guaranteed. With the way this league is going, so many great teams, you never know.”

In 1995, the Orlando Magic reached The Finals with a 23-year-old point guard named Penny Hardaway and a 23-year-old center named Shaquille O’Neal. Though they got swept by the defending champion Houston Rockets, the future was bright. Penny was as unique at his position as Durant is at his, and Shaq was a behemoth who would eventually win four championships.

But that was it for those Magic. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were back to full strength the next season, Shaq left after just one more year in Orlando, and the Magic didn’t get back to The Finals for 14 years.

The future seemed pretty bright for that Orlando team too. The 2009 Magic lost in five games to the Lakers, but were led by 23-year-old Dwight Howard, who seemed indestructible. Three years later, Howard is recovering from back surgery and the Magic are desperately searching for a GM and coach to convince him to stay.

The Thunder will eventually have to deal with contract statuses of Harden and Ibaka, who can both become (restricted) free agents in 2013 if their contracts aren’t extended before then. With the new and more punitive luxury tax set to kick in that season, it’s will be more difficult to keep a talented core together than it has been in the past, unless players are willing to take less money than they can get on the open market.

Durant and Westbrook are 23. So were Shaq and Penny. And so was Dwight.

Durant is right. Nothing is guaranteed.

“We have to seize the moment and be ready,” Durant said. “You never know. Injuries might play a factor the next few years or whatever. You never know what happens in this league. I really can’t say that or be that arrogant to say we’ll be here next year for sure or the next few years for sure. We’ve got to take advantage of this moment.”


  1. manok says:

    WESTBROOK is the clumsiest point guard i see in NBA…

  2. Rocabye says:

    Bahahaha I’m glad Durant is letting ppl give him the gentle shove out of the finals. Its obvious that the league can’t decide whether to give OKC the championship or tell them its okay to lose because they’ll be back for years to come. Young teams never get enough respect in the NBA, its all about pandering to veterans and giving them rings to buff up their resumes before they retire. Don’t hear none of that Durant! Tell LBJ if he and his heat want a ring they’re going to have to take it from Kid Clutch!

  3. W/E says:

    only if Westbrick plays like a pointguard and not like a selfish hero wannabe…

  4. mark williams says:

    I am a heat fan. I followed LeBron from the Cavs to the heat. LeBron is on a mission this year and I just want him to get a ring this year so people will shut up about LeBron James..

  5. jelars says:

    i believe OKC will win the finals. they already knock the 3 strong teams in the playoffs,why cant now?

  6. JustOMatic! says:

    I’m a Heat fan myself, always been a Lebron fan…. I remember when I first watched, Durant at Texas became a fan instantly! He always seems to be on point with what he says. Never getting caught up in the moment. He’s a great guy it seems…. This will be a great 7 game series! I hope the Heat win it though, James can quiet his critics. With the way the Thunder plays team ball… I do see them making it back to finals to compete again for the Trophy.

  7. CP10 says:

    Wise beyond his years

  8. OK OKC says:

    School had started in our country that’s why I wasn’t able now to watch the games live.. While half-listening to my professor’s blah-blah I silently hoping that the Thunder will win the game..
    GO OkC!

  9. Karlo Garcia says:

    So true Kevin. NOTHING IS GUARANTEED! Injuries may take a part in the future but KNOCK ON WOOD OKC is HEALTHY.

  10. Tony from Sydney says:

    nice to hear Spurs fan wants OKC to win, respect

  11. NBAfan says:

    If Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka stay togetherr….they will be title contenders for many many years. If Westbrook tries to be the man on his own and joins another team….or if Harden and Ibaka gets lured by more money from other teams…then yeah….this OKC team may never reach the finals again.

    • lakerhater54 says:

      i believe durant and westbrook are signed for a few years, and you have to believe they will take care of hardin but everyone else will be wanted by other teams as they become available. its going to be tough to keep all those guys.remember the coaching staff will also be getting better offers too

  12. ake says:

    future is really uncertain…OKC is on their way of having a ring this year so they have to work on it….Go OKC…

  13. old school spurs says:

    Thats why even as a spurs fan I like this Oaklahoma team – makes a fair difference to the team they are playing who have stated 8 championships! So hope that the Thunder get up and win this series.