Many teams figure to be part of the Kevin Durant derby when he hits free agency in the 2016 offseason, but a surprising contender may be emerging.
Continue for updates.
Spurs Linked to Potential Pursuit of Durant
Thursday, March 17
Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported that "rival executives believe the [San Antonio] Spurs will explore ways of adding Durant to the mix, and the franchise’s culture makes it intriguing."
Thunder Reportedly Must Reach NBA Finals to Retain Durant
Monday, March 7
New Orleans Pelicans play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers, citing sources, reported that Durant will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder if they're unable to contend for the NBA championship by making the Finals this season.
Woj: Durant Eying Championship with Next Deal
Sunday, Feb. 21
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski spoke with Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead on McIntyre's Fox Sports Radio show Saturday and reported that Durant's main focus next season and beyond is to win a championship. Wojnarowski reiterated that Durant's focus on winning a championship will determine where he signs next season, but that it doesn't rule out a return to Oklahoma City:
Washington and the Lakers, they are not frontrunners for Kevin Durant. He wants to win a championship. If he leaves Oklahoma – he may end up staying there – Golden State is the team that is worrisome for Oklahoma City. That's the team that has Kevin Durant's attention … Kevin Durant wants to win a Championship right away. Either he wants to do that in Oklahoma City, with the group they have, or he's going to go somewhere he can win a title right away. ...
If Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma – if he leaves – he wants to be ready to win a Championship right away. He's at a point in his career [where] he can't wait 2-3 years or wait for a team to build or hope that it happens.
Part of his criteria, sources tell me: Is that team good enough to beat Golden State with me on it? Or is it Golden State? Or can I stay in Oklahoma and continue to compete for a Championship? The thing with the Thunder is, you never know how close you might be to a title. It's very true … Are they good enough defensively?
[A few sentences later] I just don't think the Lakers are a real significant factor for Kevin Durant.
Durant Discusses Potential Short-Term Deal
Friday, Feb. 12
When asked about potentially signing a short-term deal with the Thunder to put off free agency for a season, Durant told ESPN Radio (via ESPN's Marc Stein):
Actually that's probably one of the first times I've heard that one, but, no, I haven't really thought about it, man. I'm just, with [coming back from] injury and just getting back to playing again, I haven't thought about contracts or free agency or none of that stuff at all. ... I really haven't thought about that one. I guess I have to.
Durant Linked to Warriors
Thursday, Feb. 11
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported on Feb. 7 that Durant has "quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area," citing sources.
On Feb. 2, Wojnarowski reported the Golden State Warriors are the significant front-runners to land Durant, per league sources.
"At this point, everything is speculation," Broussard said. "When you talk to some executives, a name that has been thrown out will shock people—Golden State. ... Now, this is not something coming out of Durant's camp. ... There are those around the league that think Golden State is a possibility."
Golden State doesn't need Durant to contend for and win the title, as it has shown over the past couple of seasons, but adding a player of his caliber could help the Warriors become one of the greatest teams of all time.
The Warriors are the top team in the NBA this year, with one of their four losses coming while reigning MVP Stephen Curry was out with a leg injury. They also boast supporting stars such as Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala from last year's championship squad.
Due to the fact that the salary cap is rising, Feldman speculated that there could be some credence to the gossip, although Golden State would have to make several moves in order to create the necessary cap space.
The Dubs would likely have to move out much of their supporting cast in order to make pursuing Durant a reality, but the possibility of adding a seven-time All-Star who averages over 27 points per game for his career may make it worth the risk.
There is no question that Golden State will have company if it attempts to sign the four-time scoring champ, but turning down the chance to play for a team that has all the makings of a dynasty could prove difficult for the 27-year-old superstar.
Grizzlies Looking to Make Run at Durant
Wednesday, Feb. 10
They are working to keep [Mike Conley] in summer free agency, with Memphis planning to be one more contender with two stars that will try to persuade Durant to make it a Big Three, league sources said. Durant's the longest of long shots in summer, but the short-term trade deadline directives are unchanged: The Grizzlies are determined to use the trade deadline to better the roster for a playoff push.
Rockets Plan on Pursuing Durant
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Rockets officials have long believed privately that they will have as good a chance as any team to steal Durant away from the Thunder in the offseason because of his strong relationship with his former teammate, [James Harden], and the room Houston has to pay Durant max-contract money while also re-signing Howard.
Durant Comments on Free-Agency Rumors
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman passed along Durant's comments on reports linking him to a move from the Oklahoma City Thunder and how they're impacting his teammates:
Twitter friendly transcript of Kevin Durant on the free agency chatter from this morning: pic.twitter.com/ckapGpR1hS— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 3, 2016
Durant Linked to Lakers
Sunday, Jan. 31
During an appearance on ESPN 710's Mason and Ireland, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported (via Ryan Ward of Examiner.com):
Keep in mind this, one of the biggest reasons I'm told, that Kevin Durant may have the Lakers at the top of his list, is because the Lakers have been led to believe, by whom specifically I do not know, but the Lakers have been led to believe that it is a very good chance that the following year Russell Westbrook is coming.
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