The LA Lakers have attempted to be big-time players in the 2015 NBA free agency, but it hasn’t quite worked out as they may have hoped. Well, maybe they really aren’t that upset that it hasn’t gone so well. It appears as if the Lakers are one of only three teams that are in line to sign Kevin Durant during the free agency session next summer.
After a third free agent summer without any big name players coming their way, the Lakers are primed to make a splash next year. Ken Berger of CBS Sports believes that Durant will stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but his leaving isn’t out of the question.
If he does leave, it seems as if there are only three teams “in the mix” to land him.
“Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.”
It is strongly believed that Durant is going to stay with the Thunder and that Oklahoma City will do whatever it takes to re-sign him. Even though they’ve had a rough year, that is mostly due to injuries, and they are serious contenders in the Western Conference.
No one believes that Kevin Durant’s foot injury is going to continue to be a problem for him.
The Dallas Mavericks were spurned by DeAndre Jordan during this year’s free agency session, but they still have a good group of talented players. Washington also has some money to spend, and have not done a lot this year either, and they also play in Durant’s home town.
The Lakers, Wizards, and Mavs will all have the salary cap space needed to sign Durant next season, and the jump going up to $89 million for the 2016-17 season will help a lot.
One thing that many have to realize is that the Thunder are likely going to offer Durant a maximum-level deal to stay in Oklahoma City. This season, only LaMarcus Aldridge turned down a deal like that to switch teams, while 11 others accepted it and stayed put.
The Lakers have young players in Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell. Roy Hibbert will help this season, but his $15.5 million contract will be off the books after 2015-16. That means that only $19.8 million will be devoted to player salaries next season.
Not only could the Lakers sign Kevin Durant, but also possibly land another talented side player as well.
The 2015 NBA season hasn’t even started, but the rumors of where Kevin Durant may land next season are already swirling. Anything could happen by the time next summer rolls around, and the LA Lakers are one of just a few teams that seem to have a serious shot at signing one of the biggest free agents in NBA history.
[Image via Getty Images – Layne Murdoch]