Stephen A. Smith: Lakers Have Edge over Knicks, Warriors for Kevin Durant in FA

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2018

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

While the Golden State Warriors remain confident that Kevin Durant will stay with the team next season, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN says he's "hearing differently."

He broke down the latest rumors Wednesday on The Stephen A. Smith Show (beginning around 20:55):

"I'm hearing the Knicks and the Lakers, with the Lakers having the edge. That's what I'm hearing. Two weeks ago, I heard the Knicks had the edge. Now, I hear the Lakers have the edge. Let me tell you something, it appears to be one of those two teams which is Kevin Durant's next destination. But Golden State is telling me: 'There's no way in hell we believe he's leaving. We believe Kevin Durant's gonna stay.'"

Durant has a player option worth $31.5 million for next season but can instead opt to enter free agency.

The topic of Durant's future has become a bigger topic of late after he and Draymond Green got into a heated argument on the court during Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com, the confrontation continued into the locker room, while "Durant's impending free agency heightens the sensitivity of the turmoil."

The two-time NBA Finals MVP was lured to the Warriors in 2016 and has re-signed in each of the last two years despite the option to hit the open market. However, this time could be different.

Some of his teammates now "suspect he’s leaving at the end of the season," while they have also "made it clear privately they aren't on board for another Please-Stay-KD tour," per Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.

Meanwhile, Durant has made few assurances publicly that he intends to stay with the team beyond this season.

With the Lakers, he could join LeBron James and potentially form a new superteam in the Western Conference. On the other hand, the Knicks could allow him to start fresh and build something on his own to potentially change his reputation.