Kevin Durant made a relatively shocking move on Thursday evening – to those unfamiliar with the MLS or Philadelphia Union at least. The 2x NBA Champion is now a minority shareholder of Philadelphia’s Major League Soccer team and there has been plenty of speculation over what this means moving forward. But there is of course another team who may benefit from this – The Philadelphia 76ers.
The investment is said to be worth 5% or under and it’s not yet clear if this investment has been made with his own finances or his business ‘Thirty Five Ventures’.
What’s confusing here is the team. Durant has always been proud of repping the DC area, who do happen to have their own team. Buying shares in the Union feels a little random.
James Harden, for instance, owns shares in the Houston Dynamo. This is conversely a little interesting.
Kevin Durant was spotted with Jay Sugarman back in December and the Union didn’t reveal why. I guess we now know.
The BIG dream
Durant hasn’t played a single game this past season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon and that doesn’t look like it will change once the NBA resumes. He signed a four-year deal worth $164M this past offseason with the Brooklyn Nets, with the final year being a player-option. So we’re one year down and with two to go, he’d be 33 by the time he enters a scenario where he could walk away.
It’s no lie that the Sixers love soccer. Joel Embiid is a big-time soccer fan, Josh Richardson has been to watch the Union play, as have Raul Neto and Mike Scott along with several others. Whether or not this holds any weight, is unknown.
Durant did list Embiid as one of his top-5 toughest opponents to play against, so it’s clear there is a mutual level of respect. Could Durant really look to close out his career in Philadelphia after his contract expires in Brooklyn, so he’s closer to his passion outside of Basketball and can attend Union home games regularly? Stranger things have happened.
From the Sixers’ perspective, Durant is obviously a Small Forward, which leads to some problems in the way that Tobias Harris would still be on the team and making $37M. They could sign and deploy Durant as a power forward? It’s not like the Al Horford experiment had much success after all…
This is all wildly hypothetical of course, but it’s fun to think about.
The lowkey moves
Kevin Durant’s name being associated with the Union is so important for the team. How many star soccer players who are toying with the idea of an MLS stint would now raise their eyebrows knowing KD is involved with the team?
On that same note, could soccer-loving NBA players be intrigued by the sudden emergence of the sport in the city? From names like Embiid and J-Rich, to Durant himself, there’s every chance that free agents looking for a new home would love to engulf themselves in a city where there is a real growth in fandom around a team coming off of its best season in league history. Durant may have some pulling power here without even knowing it.
In reality, this move may not directly impact the Sixers, but the secondary effect could well be one worth monitoring in the years to come.
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
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