By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The NBA’s free agency period is still a few days away (it begins July 1st) but the rumors and rumblings are revving up, especially when it comes to Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.
Durant and his advisors haven’t said anything publically about how the process will work but ESPN’s Marc Stein and New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola are both quoting NBA sources saying Durant plans to meet with a handful of teams in Los Angeles.
Durant has a home in the LA area.
Sports Illustrated is quoting sources as saying the teams most interested in Durant and that might actually have a chance of getting him are the Warriors, Spurs, Celtics, Wizards, Knicks and Rockets.
However other national publications have said the Rockets are no longer in the running but will push for a meeting anyway.
Isola says Durant “would prefer to re-sign with the Thunder” but if a decision is made to leave OKC the Warriors would be his choice.
Earlier this week at the official launch party for his new Nike sneaker, the KD9, Durant said his free agency destination would be a “basketball decision.”
The Thunder can offer more money and a longer contract than any other team in the league and Durant has said over and over how much he loves the atmosphere in Oklahoma City and the only pro basketball organization he’s ever known.
One of the more intriguing angles to this is whether Durant will sign a short term deal or go ahead and pull the trigger on a long term contract.
He can make the most money by signing for a year then going back into free agency after next season when the salary cap will make another big jump. But he’s said in the past “money isn’t everything” and it’s also believed he’s not a big fan of the process and all the distractions it can bring.
Following those clues could lead you to believe he might go ahead and commit for the long haul. In that scenario the Thunder could offer a five year contract, other teams could only offer four years.
More clues are sure to come out after July 1st when we’ll surely start to hear about meetings between Durant and teams that have taken place.
He could sign a new deal as early as July 7th and most likely would want to have everything wrapped up before July 18th so he can have his mind clear and ready to focus on Team USA’s training camp for the Olympic Games which begin that day.
Dirk & Dwight Opt Out
Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki and Rockets center Dwight Howard have opted out of the final years of their contracts. Nowitzki almost surely will re-sign with Dallas and Howard almost surely will not re-up with Houston.
The Warriors, along with several other teams, would be interested in Dirk. If Durant decides against hooking up with Golden State then Nowitzki would become the top target of the Warriors.