NBA Free Agents Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers & New York Knicks in Play to Sign Kevin Durant
The big free agency splash is just about over this offseason. We saw some extremely big moves such as LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs and Greg Monroe to the Milwaukee Bucks. DeAndre Jordan even changed his mind at the last second and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers leaving Dallas Mavericks fans in disbelief.
So let's take an early look at next year. The big name who is set to hit free agency next season is obviously Kevin Durant. Many NBA fans think Durant will choose his hometown team, the Washington Wizards. Others believe he will remain with his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While the Wizards and Thunder remain the favorites, the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are very much involved in the "Durant sweepstakes" for next offseason.
The Lakers have an enormous amount of money opening up. With Jeremy Lin and Steve Nash now off the roster, the Lakers have cleared up huge amounts of salary cap space, and Kobe Bryant is set to retire after next season. Bryant carries a $25 million cap hit next year, and after that, the Lakers will be able to afford any player in the league.
According to multiple reports, the Lakers, as well as the Dallas Mavericks "are in the mix" to sign Durant next offseason. Again, the biggest reason being salary cap space. Durant can make more money playing for the Lakers than he can with the Thunder, especially considering Russell Westbrook's contract. Durant and Westbrook are very good friends and successful teammates, but there are some who believe that Westbrook shoots far too often for a point guard. Westbrook's "shoot friendly" attitude sometimes leaves Durant out of the picture.
Maybe not getting Jordan was a blessing in disguise for the Mavericks. By not signing him, the Mavericks now have a ton of extra money to make a run at Durant.
Durant is a four-time scoring champion, and widely viewed as the best scorer in the league today. He is still just 26 years old, so Durant is just entering the prime of his career. Any team who gets Durant is easily getting the best big man shooter in the game. Durant lost his only NBA Finals appearance to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.
The Lakers will definitely have enough money; the only question here is whether or not Durant wants to be a Laker. He can get far more notoriety and money, but a lot more pressure follows. Paying Los Angeles taxes will also take a huge toll.
Aside from the Lakers, the New York Knicks have also been involved. Like the Lakers, the Knicks also had their worst season in franchise history last year. Many are questioning Phil Jackson's triangle offense.
According to The New York Daily News, the "Knicks are in play" to sign Durant next offseason. That same report also suggests that Durant is becoming "frustrated with Westbrook."
This would be a very interesting combination because of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is a great scorer, but does not have a lot of playoff success to show for it. Anthony currently has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he would have to sign off on any trade. Maybe an Anthony-Durant duo could work in the Big Apple.
Durant may not seriously consider the Knicks because of James Dolan's terrible track record as an owner, but playing in a terrible Eastern Conference has its advantages. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only elite team in the conference at the moment.
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