Kevin Durant Rumors: Warriors Reportedly Front-Runners If Star Leaves Thunder

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2016

Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) smiles as he walks back to the bench after sinking a basket against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Dallas. Durant scored 24 points in the former Texas star's first game in Dallas in almost two years, and the Thunder extended their winning streak to a season-best seven games by holding on for a 109-106 victory over the Mavericks on Friday night. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

As speculation about Kevin Durant's future picks up prior to free agency this summer, the 27-year-old is looking at the defending NBA champions as a potential landing spot if he leaves Oklahoma City.   

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, citing sources Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors are "significant front-runners" to sign Durant this summer. 

Durant is in line for a huge contract this summer, which will be his first time as a free agent after nine seasons in the NBA. He couldn't have picked a more opportune time to hit the market with the league's salary cap potentially ballooning over $100 million before the 2017-18 season, per's Marc Stein.

Wojnarowski noted the Warriors have the motivation to make a serious push for Durant and the potential to provide the former MVP with many things he could be seeking: "Yes, Golden State has everything, including the ability to create the salary-cap space and a belief that Durant’s persona could fit seamlessly—even onto a potential two-time defending champion."

"Bring him on," said former Warriors player and front-office member Chris Mullin, per Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group. "I'm in."

Another important piece of Wojnarowski's report stated Durant "isn't close to gone in Oklahoma City." He hasn't come to any concrete decision that he will be leaving, and he isn't leaning in one direction away from the Thunder:

Durant is determined to win – to be an immediate championship contender at 27 years old – and that keeps bringing him back to the Warriors should he make the decision to leave Oklahoma City.

Outside of a Thunder championship closing down the process before July 1, there’s a strong expectation that Durant will hit the road, tour campuses and become a recruit again.

Stephen A. Smith said during an episode of ESPN's First Take in 2015 (via Steve DelVecchio of Larry Brown Sports) that Durant's "primary objective" is to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers if he leaves Oklahoma City. 

Last week, Smith added during an appearance on ESPN 710's Mason and Ireland show (via Ryan Ward of that Durant "may" have the Lakers atop his list because the team believes it has a "very good chance" of signing Russell Westbrook the following summer. 

Any talk of where Durant will end up right now is just speculation. The Thunder aren't getting the same hype as Golden State and San Antonio in the Western Conference, but they are 37-13 and will be a dangerous playoff foe for either of those title contenders. 

Durant isn't going to let his impending free agency get in the way of what Oklahoma City has an opportunity to accomplish this year.