Kevin Durant Free Agency News & Rumors: Thunder Still The Favorite, Warriors A Legit Threat?

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?
Durant has been linked to several other teams, notably the Spurs, Warriors, Lakers and Knicks, but the Thunder don't seem to be worried about him going anywhere. Via CBS Sports:

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti still doesn’t sound scared about Kevin Durant’s free agency. Presti said at the end of the Thunder’s season that he was excited about talking to Durant about the future of the team, and he did not deviate from that in an interview with Ken Berger and Jody McDonald on CBS Sports Radio’s Eye On Basketball show. “I have no insight into what Kevin’s decision ultimately will be, and I can’t speak to what the actual process might be — that’s for him and his representation to determine,” Presti said. “Obviously we’ll be taking part in it and taking our cues there. But as I said earlier, I think for us it’s an opportunity to be pretty excited about, quite frankly, to really get excited about and lean into because we have the opportunity to sit down with not only a player but a person that has really defined the Thunder, and I would say Oklahoma City for that matter as well, for the better part of a decade. And at the same time, it’s also someone that we know and that knows us and that we communicate with over a long period of time. 

“It’s a chance to reflect on that relationship and then, I think, really get excited about what could be an incredibly bright future together,” Presti continued. “I’d like to think that we’ve been preparing for these types of things and for this particular occasion for the nine years that we’ve been together.”

The feeling around the league is that Durant will sign a two-year deal (with a player option for the second year) with the Thunder this offseason to maximize his earning potential when the salary cap goes up again next season. Assuming his declines his second-year option to make that happen, both him and Russell Westbrook will be unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2017.

However, Golden State could throw a wrench into those plans.

Durant to Warriors?
The Warriors have long been thought to be the Thunder's biggest threat to Durant this summer, and those fears have become reality for Oklahoma City. Golden State is the only other team he's seriously considering signing with, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

The same source maintains that if Durant doesn’t re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder he would prefer to join the Warriors, a team that has reached two straight NBA Finals and could rule the Western Conference for the next five years if Durant goes to the Bay Area.

Free-agent-to-be Harrison Barnes was dreadful in Games 5, 6 & 7 and Golden State’s offense imploded down the stretch of Game 7. The Warriors scored 13 fourth-quarter points and missed their last nine shots, including five from Curry. They needed a viable scoring option in their half-court sets and that would be Durant, a match-up nightmare for just about every opponent.

Durant will meet with teams in Los Angeles once free agency begins.

Knicks had chance to sign him, now don't?
New York was never really thought to be seriously in the mix to land Durant, but that apparently wasn't the case. Isola also reports that the Knicks were very appealing to Durant - but they all but dropped off his list when they fired head coach Derek Fisher.

Durant has a long list of suitors including the Knicks, who no doubt damaged themselves when Phil Jackson fired Durant’s former teammate, Derek Fisher. Durant and Fisher are close. Durant also admires Porzingis, whom he nicknamed the Unicorn.

But OKC management breathed a sigh of relief when Fisher was suddenly ousted as Knicks coach. They believed the Knicks were a serious threat.

Now? Not so much.

Durant had been expected to hold all of his free agency meetings in New York, and the switch to Los Angeles further signals that the Knicks are out of the running.

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