It appears as though the Kevin Durant free agency saga has taken yet another turn as there might be a late runner entering the race.
USA TODAY Sports reported last week that the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Clippers are likely to be the only teams KD grants face-to-face meetings with after his free agency period officially begins on July 1 at 12:01 am.
This was bad news for the likes of the Washington Wizards - his hometown franchise, now coached by former Thunder mentor Scotty Brooks - and massive markets like the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks, all of whom had hoped they would have a shot at making the 2014 MVP see things their way in the first week of July.
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However, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for one franchise on the outside looking in. Following the blockbuster trade that saw Derrick Rose swap Chicago for New York, apparently, KD's head has been turned.
Sam Amick of USA SPORTS Today reported on Saturday that after Phil Jackson sanctioned the trade, the in-demand 27-year-old saw the Knicks 'in a more favourable light' and they may now have an outside chance of luring the seven-time All-Star to the Big Apple. The report reads:
"While the Oklahoman had recently broken down the contenders for Durant’s services and didn’t even put the Knicks on the list — ranking them behind “the delusional pipe-dreamers” category — USA Today reported Saturday night that the deal for Derrick Rose and development of Kristaps Porzingis have led to Durant seeing the Knicks in a more favorable light.
"Meanwhile, Durant had dinner with — and presumably got recruited by — Knicks star Carmelo Anthony last week and made several appearances in Manhattan on Sunday, first an impromptu cameo at the Nike Store in Midtown and then watching the Dyckman Basketball Tournament uptown in Inwood."
It's worth noting that Durant is available to take meetings from July 1, but cannot officially sign anywhere until July 7. The small forward is expected to decide fairly quickly before a scheduled July 9 trip to Europe.
Logical thinking would still suggest that signing a two-year deal with a player option for the second year to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder would be his most prudent move. Nobody can offer him more money than OKC and with his running buddy Russell Westbrook also hitting free agency next summer, it would be a good time to evaluate the state of the franchise, and he'll only be 28.
The Thunder made the Western Conference Finals this year, so they are ready to challenge again one would think. Trading Serge Ibaka away and bringing in Victor Oladipo, amongst other things, may have a profound effect on the Thunder's fortunes this year and that could also influence KD's mindset.
Whatever Durantula decides to do, it could change the landscape of the NBA as we know it.