As Kevin Durant becomes the sought after free agent this summer rumors are swirling that among the suitors, the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Durant’s current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder have secured a personal meeting with him.
ESPN noted that when free agency opens on July 1, both the Warriors and the Spurs will bring in a star-studded delegation in a bid to convince the talented 27-year old 8th-year veteran to sign with their respective teams. The Warriors were reported to bring in the “splash brothers” back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together with Steve Kerr while the Spurs are set to be represented by Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan.
It was also noted that Durant will be with his agent Rich Kleiman and selected family members and friends when the meetings will take place. However, Warriors owner Joe Lacob stated that they will be very aggressive in their pursuit of getting Durant.
For this to happen, the Warriors have to unload some of their current players in their roster to create the salary-cap needed to be able to accommodate Durant. That will include reconstructing the contracts of Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala to make room for Durant, plus the additional financial arrangements to be able to re-sign Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli as well.
It is not yet known if Thunders coach Billy Donovan will represent the team or will be joined by either of the team’s top front office honchos namely general manager Sam Presti and owner Clayton Bennett for their own scheduled meeting. Rumors are also swelling that with the Thunder trading Serge Ibaka, a noted teammate and close friend of Durant, could affect their negotiations as well.
For the Spurs, it is not yet known how they will try to free themselves from the salary cap, even though the NBA has already increased it at $94 million. They are still in the works of working out a deal to re-sign Manu Ginobili, who has opted out of his contract, and they are still awaiting the decision of Duncan of whether to come back or work on his paper works for his imminent Hall of Fame nomination. But as always the Spurs will be able to make their way out of the financial obstacle to be able to make room for Durant as well.
Aside from the three known teams that have already secured a meeting with Durant, other teams such as the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers are yet to schedule a personal meeting with him. Durant has made it clear before that he will first talk with the Thunder before he would listen to other team’s offer.
It was ESPN which first reported that Durant will most likely sign a two-year deal with the Thunder with a player option for the second year to be able to go with teammate Russell Westbrook in free agency by the second year of their contracts. However, others are stating that negotiations with the Thunder would seemingly be affected when they traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic during the draft night for Victor Oladipo.
With barely a week to go, teams are now making their last minute presentations that would be appealing for Durant to take a look and maybe decide as to where his future NBA career lies next season.
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