At exactly 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, teams can begin meeting with unrestricted free agents. Kevin Durant is expected to grant meetings to hopefuls Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. According to league sources, the team that hires Scott Brooks as head coach would greatly enhance its chances of signing the superstar forward.
At this stage, everything is just speculation and conjecture. However, it’s worth noting that Durant and Brooks share a close relationship and would prefer to be reunited down the road. In February, ESPN’s Ian Begley revealed that Knicks would improve their chances of signing Durant if they hired Brooks to fill in the vacant head coaching job, currently occupied by interim Kurt Rambis.
“Brooks is a name to think about, for one reason: The Knicks have been informed that their chances of landing Kevin Durant this summer would be influenced by hiring Brooks, according to league sources,” wrote Begley. If anything, hiring Brooks would get Durant’s attention, revealed the report.
Many sources reckon that Durant was shattered when Oklahoma City Thunder fired his beloved coach, Brooks, in favor of Billy Donovan this past off-season. Under Brooks, Durant won four scoring titles, one MVP award and reached the NBA Finals in 2012. Was OKC wise in firing Brooks?
If you skim through Durant’s biggest suitors, the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks are most likely to get a new head coach next season. The Celtics, Mavericks, Warriors and Heat have established coaches who have enjoyed great success, and wouldn’t dare fire them just to acquire Durant. Does this give teams like Lakers, Rockets and Knicks the edge? Either of these three teams could hire Brooks just so Durant gives them a hard look.
Where will Kevin Durant eventually sign? At this stage, it’s safe to assume that Oklahoma City Thunder are unlikely to retain him, especially considering their losing slump since the All-Star break.