Washington Wizards: Are They Doomed For Mediocrity With Kevin Durant Gone?

Feb 1, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dribbles the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dribbles the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards were dealt a blow once Kevin Durant did not schedule a pitch meeting, so are they doomed for mediocrity now?

Kevin Durant, by all measures. loves his hometown. Durant also makes no secret how much he loves the D.C. sports teams.

He is a regular at Washington Redskins games (usually rocking a customized ‘Durant’ number 35 Redskins jersey) and has a Washington Nationals ‘W’ logo tattooed on his stomach.

Being that he has only played basketball in his NBA career for the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant couldn’t just come out and say “I also love the Washington Wizards” but most people read between the lines after hearing Durant discuss how he used to go to Wizards games when he was younger.

With Durant’s height listed at 6’11″, he is a matchup nightmare for other teams and there’s usually no answer for him.

Durant has blossomed into one of this generation’s best players and a sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer.

For the past two years, Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards franchise have been making moves and clearing space to make sure the team had all the pieces in place to make a run at the hometown hero when the 2016 free agency period started.

The #KD2DC plan actually started off on a good note as the team overachieved enough to make the 2014 Playoffs and win a first round series over the Chicago Bulls.

The young star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal was supposed to be two biggest prizes to showcase to KD that he could be the final piece of the championship puzzle if he decided to come home and play for the Wizards.

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The Washington Wizards were on the upswing after Paul Pierce agreed to come and play in the nation’s capital for the 2014-15 season, which included a return trip to the playoffs and a first round sweep of the Toronto Raptors.

However, weird injuries, old-school and predictable offensive sets implemented by head coach Randy Wittman, and a stronger Eastern Conference all played a part in the Wizards having a down season.

Even with all of the factors mentioned causing the Wizards to disappoint this past season, fans still held on to a small bit of hope that KD would come walking through the Verizon Center doors to save his hometown the way LeBron James just did with the newly crowned NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

So, as you’ve probably heard by now, Kevin Durant and his management team didn’t even schedule a meeting to sit down with the hometown Washington Wizards.

After all of the scheming and cost cutting to maneuver to get KD to come home…nothing.

Durant’s July 1st meeting schedule includes powerhouse teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs among others.

Among the KD meeting list that is a little confusing to Washington fans are the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

While both teams have more of a storied past and recent NBA championships, Washington could claim to field a team just as competitive as the Heat and Celtics if KD came decided to come aboard.

This snub is a huge cause for concern for the Washington Wizards and begs the question: Can the franchise recover from this fiasco to become a contender or will the Wizards always be in the middle class of the NBA?

Thinking back to the Gilbert Arenas led Washington Wizards teams in the early 2000s, the Wizards were always a team that would give the top teams in the league a tough game but no one would call them “contenders” for a championship.

While Arenas was a bonafied superstar in the league that could drop 60 on a team, Washington didn’t really have another star to help push the Wizards into the contender conversation.

After the Arenas gun stuff and the dismantling the core of those playoff Wizards teams, it took a solid seven years to get back to respectability and into the playoffs.

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Fan bases of teams not named the Warriors or the Spurs, always have to dream, mostly unrealistically, about landing a top tier free agent that can turn their teams’ fortunes around.

It usually works out that the big name free agent either re-signs with the team they’re already on or they team up somewhere with other big names to form a super team to try and chase rings.

The last free agent that made a splash signing with the Washington Wizards was the aforementioned Paul Pierce, but we all knew that the Wizards weren’t his first choice.

He actually wanted to – surprise – go home to Los Angeles play for his hometown Clippers, but the Clippers decided to sign Spencer Hawes instead.

Pierce did eventually leave the district a year later to finish out his career with the Clippers.

With a young nucleus of Wall, Beal, Otto Porter, and Kelly Oubre, the future doesn’t look bleak, but after the hometown guy Durant snubbed the Wizards, top name players might not take Washington serious as a destination spot to win until further notice.

The Washington Wizards will have to settle for overpaying second and third tier free agents just to completely fill the roster.

After the past few years of building a team full of short term contracts to save money to lure KD and maybe sacrificing wins and progress, it may take the Wizards the same amount of time to start building a team that can win and be mentioned with the top teams in the league to compete and land top free agents..

Next: Don't Blame Fans For KD Not Coming Home

Time will tell if this 2016 summer will set the franchise back or if it will ultimately help the young Wizards players become leaders and solid players on a contending team.