OKC faces its first major decision; when to show Durant the money. The smart move would be to sign Durant now to a long-term max deal and lock up the face of the franchise. Signing him now is a no-brainer. According to a couple of articles I've read, he suggests he is happy in OKC, so sign him now while that's still the case. Protracted negotiations could change his mind. That’s when the true colors from both sides will be revealed.
Of course, KD could just be saying all the PC things we expect athletes to say these days. Is it genuine? There's no way for us to know until the fire gets hotter. Is the OKC brass working on a deal or will they wait for the new CBA to be ratified which will likely lower the price teams can offer up?
This is the dilemma OKC now faces; signing Durant long term now at a higher cost and keep him happy, or wait for the new CBA to reduce the limit, and face alienating the face of the franchise. It's a very interesting situation: OKC's first loyalty vs. business decision...and the ramifications will likely determine the fate of the franchise. The longer the situation plays out, the worse it gets for OKC. Durant's value to the franchise is worth overpaying him, even in light of the likely new NBA economics about to be unveiled with the upcoming CBA.
As Durant's agent applies pressure to get a max deal done before the new CBA deal, his influence could sway Durant to start considering other options if OKC stalls. His handlers can start the process of disengaging Durant from OKC, justified by claiming KD's being slighted or 'disprespected' as is the popular term among players, proven by OKC's refusal to move quickly. If Durant is indeed happy in OKC and can be locked up before he reaches his prime or a better offer emerges, OKC needs to step up now and get it done. If not, you leave the door open for KD to to ponder his value on the open market. He can jump ship to a number of other teams. Any suitors can provoke him by questioning why be loyal to OKC? If they 'value him' so much, why aren't they showing him the money? Pretty simple and effective logic. KD's agent will do what KD wants, but will certainly keep him in the loop on all offers. If it drags out, KD may start listening to them.
Don’t go cheap with the face of the franchise who is already getting less than his market value. Durant is young and impressionable. With a happy Durant in OKC, the team can stay relevant and competitive. Without him, they'll fade into oblivion.
It'll be interesting to see how OKC plays their first big decision.