The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant are pointing toward a big move within the Western Conference, with the Golden State Warriors emerging as the leading candidate to land the Oklahoma City Thunder forward.
Durant just suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors during the playoffs, with his Thunder blowing a three-games-to-one lead in the Western Conference Finals to end their season on the edge of the NBA Finals. There had been rumors throughout the season that Durant would be ready to test the free agent waters in the offseason, with the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs emerging as the frontrunners.
Now those plans are moving into motion, and the NBA rumors facing Kevin Durant are kicking into high gear. The Thunder star is starting to meet with potential suitors as soon as free agency starts, with visits scheduled for his off-season home in Los Angeles, Sports Illustrated reported.
The Warriors are reportedly planning to make Kevin Durant their top target, as they have been planning for more than a year their approach to land him. While the Warriors have some other targets in mind, Durant will be their major focus when free agency starts on July 1, ESPN reported.
As ESPN noted, the Warriors have hinted toward an “aggressive” approach.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob, without addressing Durant specifically so as not to violate league rules that prohibit such discussion before July 1, said Sunday night on his way out of Oracle Arena: “All I can say is that I will be very aggressive.”
The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant could possibly set off a chain reaction that leads to another Western Conference superstar finding a new home. Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported that if the Golden State Warriors can’t land Kevin Durant, they may immediately shift gears to Dallas Mavericks big man Dirk Nowitzki, who is expected to opt out of his contract to become a free agent.
Kawakami noted that the Warriors have some room to spend and that Nowitzki has long been a target for the Warriors front office.
But the Warriors might run into some resistance if they plan to make a move for Nowitzki. The Dallas Mavericks reportedly intend to keep their franchise player, and coach Rick Carlisle said he will do whatever it takes to keep Dirk in Dallas.
“I’m ready to get on a plane and go to Germany and recruit him to be back, but I don’t think that we can take him for granted,” Carlisle said (via ESPN). “I think we have to give him that kind of respect. He’s done so much for our organization. He’s sacrificed so much. And it’s been a life-changing experience for me to be around a player of that magnitude for eight years. It’s indescribable.”
But Dirk Nowitzki has given strong indications that at age 38, he’s not interested in a rebuilding team. The Golden State Warriors could offer the best chance at a title-ready team, and if the NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant don’t work out for the Warriors, then he could be an attractive Plan B for the NBA Finals runners-up.
The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant could end up amounting to nothing, however. There are reports that the Oklahoma City Thunder remain the front-runner to bring their star player back, with ESPN noting that he will likely sign a two-year deal with a player option to become a free agent again next summer at the same time as teammate Russell Westbrook.
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