Kevin Durant is easily the most desired free agent on the market this summer, and there have been plenty of rumors swirling for the past two years about what Durant will do.
Teams can not start negotiating with Durant, or any other free agent, until July 1. However, no free agent can officially sign with a team until July 8 - with the week between being known as the “July Moratorium” - but teams across the league are already lining up their pitches to land the superstar. Here's all the latest news and rumors surrounding Durant's free agency:
Thunder the favorite for Kevin Durant, will only sign one-year deal?
Durant has set up meetings with six teams - Celtics, Clippers, Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Warriors - for July 1, but only one of those teams has a shot at signing him this season. According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant will sign a one-year deal with the Thunder, and the meetings with the other teams are just a prelim for when he hits the open market next year:
.@WojVerticalNBA says teams meeting with Kevin Durant feel they're laying groundwork for '17 FA since they all anticipate his return to OKC.— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 27, 2016
Durant has been expected to sign a one-year deal (with a player option for the second year) with the Thunder for two reasons - the ability to take advantage of the salary cap rising again next season, and to decide his playing future with teammate Russell Westbrook, who will also be a free agent after next season.
Carmelo Anthony pitching Durant on Knicks
The Knicks have been hoping to pursue Durant this offseason, but he doesn't seem to be interested since he has no meeting planned with the team. However, that doesn't mean he won't be hearing their recruiting pitch. ESPN's Marc Stein reports that Carmelo Anthony is doing his best to talk to Durant about joining the Knicks while both play for Team USA at the Olympics this summer:
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told ESPN on Monday that his recruitment of marquee free agent Kevin Durant has already begun and will not be affected "whether he meets with the Knicks or not."
"I'm with KD now; he's right downstairs," Anthony told ESPN in an interview that will air later Monday on SportsCenter. "We've been together. We've been talking.
"I do consider myself part of the Knicks," Anthony continued, "so that meeting has already taken place."
Hawks In On Durant?
Another team looking to make a late run at Kevin Durant? The Atlanta hawks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
"[The Hawks] have been working to try to persuade Durant and his representatives to have a face-to-face recruiting meeting after free agency starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, even though their chances appear dim," Stein reports. "One source of hope for the Hawks, sources say, is the presence of longtime NBA All-Star Grant Hill in the Hawks' ownership group, with Hill expected to lead Atlanta's lobbying efforts."
Similar to the Knicks, the Hawks do not have a meeting currently scheduled with Durant.
Warriors, Heat only threats to OKC
However, New York isn't thought to be a serious threat to steal him away from the Thunder. According to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman, the Warriors and Heat are the only outside teams that have a realistic chance to sign him.
Another agent thinks, in the case of Durant, the club that wants to pry him away from the Thunder "needs to be a good team, in a better market with a better chance to win than OKC."
"So Golden State and Miami become the only real players," the agent said. "It's too hard to justify a move to Los Angeles (Lakers) or New York because they are not close to winning. Houston's out."
Durant's desire to play for a winner isn't a surprise, but if this is simply a free agent appetizer before he really considers other teams in 2017, all of those teams can improve their chances with a good season this year.
Wizards have "no shot" at signing Durant?
The Wizards have been clearing cap space for two years in preparation for their pursuit of Durant this summer, but as Sam Amick of USA Today reports, they have "no shot" to land him.
Despite years of speculation about Durant possibly signing with his hometown Washington Wizards or the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of his situation told USA TODAY Sports that those two teams are not expected to land a meeting with the former MVP. As it stands, it’s the six aforementioned teams coming Durant’s way at a location that has not yet been determined.
Washington is still working on doing what they can to get a meeting with Durant, but those chances seem slim. ESPN's Britt McHenry reports that the team knows signing Durant is unlikely and are pessimistic about their chances. They have made Pelicans PF Ryan Anderson their top free agent target now instead of Durant.Back to the NBA Newsfeed
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