Chris Mannix: 3rd Title May Keep Kevin Durant from Joining LeBron James, Lakers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is defended by Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant in the first half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Kevin Durant is scheduled to become a free agent again after the 2018-19 NBA season, and speculation has already started to crop up about the two-time Finals MVP potentially linking up with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers once he hits the open market.

However, Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix believes that could be a tough sell for Durant if he winds up leading the Warriors to a third straight title next season. 

"I think next summer, we are going to see a Kevin Durant free-agency tour," Mannix said on the Good N' Plenty podcast with Jeff Goodman (h/t HoopsHype). "I think we'll see teams recruit him, maybe not the exact same way they did a few years ago, but in that kind of way.

"And if you start looking at potential teams, I know people like to connect Kevin Durant to Los Angeles, but I'm of the belief that if he gets his third championship, he's not going to want to play alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant's gonna wanna be the player who eclipses LeBron James. You don't wanna go and play with somebody and help him win championships if you're on Durant level. You wanna be…the guy. I think that's gonna keep him out of L.A."

At this point, though, it's all a guessing game. 

And if recent high-profile free agency cases have been any indication, it's fair to assume Durant will remain mum on the subject throughout the ensuing campaign. 

As far as James' move to L.A. is concerned, Durant recently told The Undefeated's Marc Spears he "absolutely loved" the decision. 

"I loved it. I absolutely loved it," Durant said. "I thought it was the perfect decision, perfect move, did everything he was supposed to do in Cleveland. I think this is the perfect next step for him, and he's kinda breaking down the barriers of what an NBA superstar is supposed to be. You feel like you're just supposed to play it out in one spot. I think he did a good job of giving different chapters. I think it's gonna make his book even more interesting when it's done."