NBA Rumors: Is Durant laying the groundwork for a return to the Thunder?

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder have no doubt noticed a seemingly concerted effort by Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant to make amends in recent months. Durant, of course, spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Thunder, putting up monster numbers, before leaving in the summer of 2016 to join the Golden State Warriors.

That turned many Thunder fans against him, feeling as though he had betrayed the team by taking the easy way out and joining a 73-win Warriors team. He did, winning back-to-back championships in 2016–17 and 2017–18, with KD earning final MVP honors in both years.

Now, at the age of 35 and in year 17, Durant has been more complimentary of late to the Thunder organization, even seemingly cultivating a relationship with a young OKC star. Rookie center Chet Holmgren recently starred in a commercial for Durant's signature shoe, with him serving as the narrator.

With the Thunder on the verge of a deep playoff run and the Phoenix Suns having an early playoff exit, many have wondered whether he could eventually return to Oklahoma City to finish out his career.

Could Kevin Durant return to Oklahoma City to finish out his career?

Durant currently has two years remaining on his contract with the Suns and it seems as though his addition to the team hasn't turned them into the contender that they thought. Even after adding Bradley Beal to the core of Durant and Devin Booker, they are only a first-round team.

With few options to improve their roster this summer, it's possible that Durant may soon want out, especially with him having two seasons left on his deal. Being stuck on a mediocre team in the twilight of his career may be the last thing that a future Hall of Famer would want to do.

That could lead to him wanting out but would the Thunder trade for Durant? The answer is almost certainly no, with him being owed $49.8 and $53.2 million over the next two seasons. There would be almost no way that they could without gutting their roster to match salary. Barring a buyout in the near future, the earliest he could rejoin the Thunder is in 2026.

He'll be 38 years old by then and there is no guarantee that he would play that long or whether he'd be worth signing. Ultimately, Durant has seemed to have tried to make- peace with the Thunder after leaving in 2016. Despite that, he probably won't return to OKC as a player anytime soon, if ever.