Free agency is here. It's one of the most important and exciting periods on the NBA calendar as teams look to bolster their rosters with significant acquisitions and hefty sums of money are handed out.
The name of Kevin Durant has been on the lips of everything related to free agency throughout the year and all eyes have been on the small forward this week as his decision looms.
KD is certainly the best free agent to hit the market since LeBron James in 2010, where he decided to take his talents to South Beach and, as you'd expect, the 2014 MVP is highly coveted as players of his undoubted superstar quality don't become available often.
Durant will test the market for the first time in his career and is believed to have set up meetings with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers and Boston Celtics, which are scheduled to take place over the next three days.
Before meeting those teams, however, Durant agreed to a private meeting with his current employers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Thursday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the talks went on for five hours between the player, his agent and business manager Rich Kleiman and longtime friend and manager Charlie Bell and Thunder officials including general manager Sam Presti.
Per Stein, sources told ESPN that the meeting "went well" and "has put the incumbent Oklahoma City Thunder in a strong position".
He added: "A firm decision on where the four-time scoring champion will play next season, sources said, is expected "sooner rather than later," after they finish hosting the five teams that have secured invitations to the Hamptons for weekend sit-downs with Team Durant."
Multiple sources are also reported to have told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that those close to the 27-year-old expect him to re-sign with OKC, barring an incredible pitch from one of the other five teams that could unexpectedly change his mind.
"His decision is 90 percent made," a longtime friend told Spears.
Another colleague said: "It's going to take some sweet-talking to get him to pass up all the money he can get by staying in OKC."
It was always widely expected that Durant would sign a two-year deal to stay in Oklahoma City with a player option in year two when his running mate Russell Westbrook also becomes a free agent.
The latest reports coming out of his camp seem to all but confirm this. It may take something special to woo the seven-time All-Star away from the Thunder, but we shouldn't put that past the Warriors or the Spurs.
ESPN also reported that OKC is hoping to secure a final meeting with KD when he completes his discussions with the other teams in an attempt to make one final pitch to the player who has spent his entire nine-year career with the franchise.
The four-time scoring champion is settled in the city and having come just one win away from the reaching the NBA Finals this past season, he has a realistic chance of winning his first ring there and is likely to give his adoring Thunder fans what they want by staying put.