At exactly 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, teams can begin meeting with Kevin Durant, the most sought-after free agent in years. Kobe Bryant has a word of advice for the superstar forward who grew up idolizing the Black Mamba.
“Yeah, I mean, you know, you’ve just got to look at it holistically. What does he want out of his career, what opportunities present themselves, even I — when I was a free agent — I did my due diligence, I looked at every opportunity and I left no stone unturned, so you have to vet those things,” Bryant told USA Today’s For The Win in an interview Thursday.
Kevin Durant hoping to follow Kobe…
At the start of the 2015-16 season, Bryant became the only player in NBA history to represent the same team for 20 seasons. Durant has often expressed his desire to follow in the footsteps of Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki by sticking with Oklahoma City Thunder for the rest of his career. But it’s easier said than done.
In 2004, Bryant was tempted to bolt in free agency but ended up signing a seven-year deal worth $136.4 million with a no-trade clause in his contract. In 2007, a disgruntled Bryant requested to be traded before Lakers acquired Pau Gasol via a trade with Memphis Grizzlies which instantly catapulted the team to elite status and forced the shooting guard to stay put in Los Angeles.
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“I was just very fortunate things worked out for me in Los Angeles, but he (Durant) certainly needs to look at every opportunity and make the right decision for himself — keeping in mind his fan base in Oklahoma, as well,” added Bryant.
Kevin Durant is expected to grant meetings to hopefuls Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.