In the beginning, the Kevin Durant to Golden State Warriors rumor was viewed as a pipe dream. With free agency set to begin on Friday, it appears like the “what if” scenario is turning into reality.
According to a source close to Durant, the Warriors are the frontrunners to sign the former MVP if he were to bolt from Oklahoma City this offseason. Of course, Thunder still have a great shot at bringing him back, but face a significant threat from the 2014 NBA champions.
Kevin Durant Free Agency: Thunder vs Warriors
CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole reported over the weekend that the Durant sweepstakes are down to Thunder or Warriors. “If Durant decides to leave the Thunder, the only franchise he’s ever known, he most likely will settle upon the Warriors. That’s according to multiple reports and numerous league sources. It’s also what the Warriors believe, according to team sources,” wrote Poole.
“Aside from OKC’s obvious advantages – comfort, familiarity and the largest potential contract – no other suitor can offer so comprehensive a package as the Warriors,” added Poole, before acknowledging that the Thunder are still the odds-on favorites to bring back the superstar forward.
According to ESPN’s Mark Stein, the Warriors will be represented by a team of key organizational figures including Steve Kerr, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Stein also reported that the Warriors, Thunder and San Antonio Spurs have secured the first three face-to-face meetings with Durant starting on Friday.
Stein revealed that the Warriors will fly “to an undisclosed location once free-agency season starts to try to lure Durant away from the only franchise he has ever played for.”
ESPN’s report acknowledged that Warriors would have to give up significant assets to clear cap room for Durant. “The Warriors would have to relinquish a number of looming free agents, including Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, and at least one more significant contract — such as Andrew Bogut or Andre Iguodala — to create sufficient salary-cap space to sign Durant. But as ESPN reported earlier this week, Golden State is “all-in” on a Durant pursuit.”
Kevin Durant Free Agency: Hometown Washington To Be Snubbed
Bob Myers remains confident…
Bob Myers, Golden State’s award-winning general manager, reckons that his team is in a great position to lure Kevin Durant and other marquee free agents over the next few offseasons. “We’re in a really good place as far as people viewing us as successful, because we won, if for no other reason. If you win, you’re deemed successful in this industry. And also, our players and coaching staff have cultivated a style that is attractive to players, and a locker room and a feel that people want to be a part of,” Myers said on Friday.
For several weeks, reliable sources have indicated that Kevin Durant is most likely to return to OKC on a two-year max contract, with a player option to return to free agency next offseason. This way, Durant can maximize his earnings with the salary cap skyrocketing with each passing summer.
Kevin Durant stands to lose at least $30 million if he signs elsewhere. But Durant has indicated that monetary benefits won’t influence his decision. “I’m worried about basketball. That’s what it is for me. It’s a basketball decision,” the four-time scoring champion said last week.