NBA free agency: Kevin Durant could pick Lakers as second option behind Thunder

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
Kevin Durant
Dec 23, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) moves to the basket on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the 4th quarter at Staples Center. Reuters/Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers may have the chance after all to land Kevin Durant in this summer’s free agency, according to the latest NBA rumours.

Durant’s decision in what team to join in the free agency may still depend on the Thunder’s playoffs campaign this season. However, according to an interesting theory from Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated, the Lakers are the second ideal option for Durant to join this summer next to the Thunder.

While Sharp’s reports are theories and the odds given in the story are from the writer’s perspective, some of the points actually make sense. Sharp noted how Durant spent most of his offseason time in Los Angeles and how the two-time scoring champion has been an admirer of retiring Kobe Bryant.

Moreover, the Lakers’ position in this year’s draft lottery may also be appealing for Durant to don the Purple and Gold next season.

“There are more variables in this plan that could either hurt or help the cause. For instance, if the Lakers get a top–two pick, that will give them even more recruiting tools to lure Durant,” Sharp wrote. “Maybe he wants to play with Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, or maybe he'd prefer they trade that pick for another star.”

However, as noted in Sharp’s claims, there are also factors that may actually be too realistic for the Lakers’ chances of acquiring KD. For instance, the Lakers are evidently in rebuilding mode post-Bryant Era, which could make it unlikely for Durant to join the 16-time NBA champs.

There is a growing sense that Durant, after eight seasons with his first team in the NBA and after falling short season-after-season of winning a title, would opt to join a contender like the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.

But according to ESPN Calvin Watkins, Durant could head to the Houston Rockets in the offseason, with James Harden being the main recruiter to once again play alongside his former teammate.

“The Rockets' best player and leading scorer will become the main recruiter this summer in the franchise's quest to sign Kevin Durant, whom Harden played with for three seasons in Oklahoma City,” Watkins wrote. “Selling points for the Rockets include no state income tax in Texas, ability to team up with one of the league's best scorers in Harden, and a bigger city with more marketing opportunities compared to Oklahoma City.”

Surely Durant would seek for a huge salary, but unless the Lakers grab another superstar to partner the Slim Reaper with, then LA could kiss their chance for winning the Durant-sweepstakes away.   

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