Think your team has a shot to sign Kevin Durant in 2016? Think your team can make him the former forward of the Oklahoma City Thunder? Sorry, so does everyone else.
Basketball Insiders Yannis Koutroupis thinks that more than a third of NBA teams will pursue the superstar:
By the time 2016 rolls around, there could be more than a third of the league that has cleared enough cap space to make a run at Durant. Judging by their recent hiring of former Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Brian Keefe, another coach very close to Durant, it looks like the New York Knicks could be another team lining up to make a run at Durant. They’re poised to have plenty of cap room, and potentially two stars as they already have Carmelo Anthony locked up to a long-term deal and the space to sign another star this offseason.
Most of those teams will have cleared the space in vain — of course, he can only sign with one team. But favorites will establish themselves. And while everyone is counting them out, the Thunder will be a top option. After all, they can offer him the most money. They also have Russell Westbrook.
At the very least, he will think hard about leaving Oklahoma City. Aside from the Thunder, the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks are certainly contenders.
It’s premature, however, for anyone to consider where he might go. It’s not premature for teams to clear space for him. He arguably will be the best NBA free agent the NBA sees in the next five years — assuming LeBron James sticks to his promise and stays in Cleveland. Durant is on his way to take over as the best player as soon as LeBron shows signs of decline. Even if it’s a long shot for him to sign with a peripheral team, they’ve got to take the chance.
The two year marathon for KD has begun.