NBA Rumors: Free Agent Kevin Durant Could Follow The Path Blazed By LeBron James And Pick The Miami Heat

Nathan Francis - Author
By

Jun. 12 2016, Updated 12:04 p.m. ET

The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant could be pointing toward a repeat of 2010, with the biggest free agent in basketball taking his talents to South Beach and the Miami Heat.

Durant will become a free agent this summer and is expected to be one of most heavily courted player in years, rivaling the famous “Decision” from LeBron James back in 2010. There are as many as a dozen teams linked in some way to Durant, with five or six seen as real contenders.

New NBA rumors indicate that the Miami Heat could be among the strongest contenders.

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Pat Riley has reportedly been working hard to attract Durant to South Beach, and Jason Leiser of the Palm Beach Post wrote that there are plenty of factors working in Miami’s favor. He noted the team’s coaching staff was able to get the best out of LeBron James, helping him post the best defensive rating of his career in the 2011-12 season.

Pat Riley himself is a big asset, Leiser added.

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“Players and coaches come and go, but the best teams have stability at the top. Few teams in the league can offer the respect and trust Riley has earned. Not only does he possess the ambition to chase championships, he’s been quite successful doing it. At the moment, only the Spurs stack up to Miami’s reputation. Golden State is getting there.”

“Most of the attention Riley gets is for landing big prizes like Shaquille O’Neal and James, but he’s a mastermind at roster building. He surrounded the Big Three with strong role players like Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Chris Andersen and Mike Miller. Even without an obvious contender on his hands, he persuaded Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson to sign cheaply this season.”

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Though the NBA rumors regarding the Miami Heat are picking up, it’s more likely that Kevin Durant will stay closer to home as there is a pair of Western Conference powerhouses reportedly leading the way in the bidding. Reports indicate that the San Antonio Spurs have been planning to make a major pitch for Durant, allowing him to form a new core along with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan has not yet said what he plans to do next year, but even if he returns, his retirement is not too far on the horizon. That has left the Spurs plotting for how to remain atop the Western Conference, and Kevin Durant is believed to be a major part of that.

The Spurs could have some fierce competition. Other NBA rumors indicate that the Golden State Warriors are going after Kevin Durant and may have been planning the pitch for a few years. It’s not clear how he would fit onto a roster that already includes two major scoring threats in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but if the Warriors were somehow able to pull it off, they could become a powerhouse capable even of topping the 2015-16 team’s accomplishments.

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There could still be a more logical Western Conference answer to the NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still the team able to offer him the largest contract, and all along Durant has said he wants to find the team that will give him the best chance of winning a title. After the Thunder pushed the Warriors to the brink of elimination before letting three games to one lead slip out of their grasp, it may be clear that Oklahoma City is his Durant’s chance of breaking through to win his first ring.

[Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]

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