Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016 and the Houston Rockets are already laying groundwork to making a run at recruiting the superstar to their franchise.
2016 Free Agent Durant
There has been nothing thus far to suggest that Kevin Durant is unhappy in Oklahoma City and has two years remaining in his current deal with the Thunder, but that doesn't mean the Rockets can't start sniffing around.
Speculation has continued surrounding his exit from the Thunder, whether it be a return to his home state of Washington or teaming up with good friend James Harden in Houston, there is a possibility that Durant could move on much like LeBron James did with Cleveland.
Becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2016, Durant has taken notice as to James' journey back home and described his return to the Cavaliers as a 'classy move'.
Washington is Durant's home but every team in the NBA would be rolling out their best pitch to bring the small forward to their franchise, the Rocket's angle would be that they have long time friend James Harden.
Harden 'lead recruiter'
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has complied a report about the Rockets intentions in recruiting Durant:
"The Rockets are widely expected to take a step back this season, thanks to all the depth they squandered on the Bosh dice roll, but they expect to have significant salary-cap room next summer — when they can chase point guards as accomplished as Goran Dragic and Rajon Rondo if they choose — as well as in the summer of 2016."
"Which is when, sources say, they’d like to give Harden an opportunity to serve as Houston’s lead recruiter in the pursuit of a free agent named Kevin Wayne Durant."
General Manager's outlook
Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has also commented on the pursuit of Durant in the future, he said:
"We are always going to be swinging big,We’re only about trying to win championships and how to make that happen. We take big swings at things. Obviously, it worked out the last two summers, but the only way you can land a James Harden or a Dwight Howard is by taking big swings. Sometimes, you hit. Sometimes, you miss. Bosh chose to stay in Miami, but that’s not always going to be the case.”
The Rockets summer really didn't go as planned in recruitment terms, they whiffed on chasing Chris Bosh and watched Texas rival Mavericks steal one of their own players right under their noses, Chandler Parsons signed a big deal with Dallas.
Now it seems the Rockets will take a back seat in future free agent pursuits until 2016, when the big prize in Kevin Durant will be available.