The NBA’s 2016 free agency signing period will officially begin on July 7, and rumors are swirling regarding Kevin Durant and his possible destination. While Durant’s current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, remain the favorites to re-sign him, there is apparently a very real chance that he leaves for another organization. In addition to the Thunder, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs appear to be the other top suitors, but the Boston Celtics are expected to have a meeting with Durant sometime around July 1.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported via Yahoo Sports that these meetings will take place in New York City.
“Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is planning to host free-agency meetings at a singular location starting July 1, league sources told The Vertical. Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations with the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Thunder.”
The Celtics and Durant have been connected on numerous occasions over the past few months. While Durant has spoken positively regarding the Celtics and the city of Boston, he has given the same praise to other cities. Regardless, the Celtics have a rich tradition of winning basketball and are one of the most up-and-coming teams in the entire NBA. In addition to finishing with a solid record of 48-34 last season, their head coach, Brad Stevens, is also viewed as one of the top young coaches in the entire NBA. At only 27-years-old, Durant is looking for a team that will have a chance to win for years to come, and the Celtics may just fit that mold.
— CSNNE.com (@CSNNE) June 25, 2016
While the Celtics are a team on the rise, the fact that they may not be ready to win a championship next year could be viewed as a negative. Regardless, the Celtics being in the weaker Eastern Conference has to be a positive in Durant’s eyes. While the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be an elite team again next year, the rest of the conference is mostly filled with mediocre and poor teams. Even the Toronto Raptors, who finished with an outstanding record of 56-26 last season, are in a tier below the top Western Conference teams.
The good news for Celtics’ fans is that Durant is at least more open to leaving Oklahoma City. After losing to the Cavaliers in seven games in the NBA Finals, the Warriors are apparently trying to convince Durant that he is the missing piece to their team. While Durant signing with the Warriors would be bad news, he is at least considering other options at this point.
Celtics blog: Pitch perfect: Celtics could make strong case to Kevin Durant https://t.co/OeR8n6bUsF
— ESPNBoston (@ESPNBoston) June 25, 2016
As Yahoo Sports also notes, Durant could very well sign a one-year contract with the Thunder and go into free agency next year along with Russell Westbrook.
“The Thunder remain the frontrunners to re-sign Durant, likely on a one-plus-one-year deal that will allow Durant to return to free agency in the summer of 2017, league sources said. But more than any other rival suitor, the Warriors have Durant’s attention, league sources said. Durant’s public and private criteria for the free-agent selection process have pertained to a singular focus: the chance to win titles immediately.”
If Durant does decide to return to the Thunder on a one-year deal, the Celtics will have next year to prove that they are a true championship contender. While websites such as SB Nation have given the Celtics poor grades on their draft, they still have an intriguing collection of young players and assets. Jaylen Brown is raw, but he has the potential to be a great NBA player. Additionally, they have numerous foreign players stashed overseas.
Durant is expected to make his decision by July 9, according to Yahoo Sports, so the meeting with the Boston Celtics is going to take place before that date.
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