Report: L.A. Lakers believe they still have a shot at landing Kevin Durant

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Kevin Durant can pretty much have his pick of the league when it comes to finding his next team, if he leaves the Oklahoma City Thunder at all in free agency, that is.

The Vertical reported on Tuesday night that the 2014 MVP will take meetings with six franchises and they will take place Friday and Saturday in the Hamptons on Long Island.

His current side OKC, as well as the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and L.A. Clippers will all get the chance to make their proposals in the east over the weekend.

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However, notable absentees from KD's list include the L.A. Lakers and the New York Knicks, two teams with the biggest markets in the NBA.

Durant has already said his priority is to make a "basketball decision" this summer and that endorsement deals and such that might come with those bigger markets doesn't interest him. He already does pretty well for himself by all accounts.

The Knicks have risen in his estimation in the past couple of days, though, after the acquisition of Derrick Rose. Durantula told reporters as Team USA congregated in New York that his team would now consider the franchise.

A report from ESPN's Chris Broussard has suggested that the Lakers think they can make a late appeal, too. The report reads:

"Despite not being on the list of teams scheduled to meet with free-agent forward Kevin Durant, the Los Angeles Lakers have not abandoned their hopes of landing him, according to a person with knowledge of the club's thinking.

"The Lakers intend to contact Durant and his representatives July 1 and are confident they will get a meeting, the source said.

"'I can't imagine Durant wouldn't talk to us," the source said. "That would shock me.'

The arrival of young, exciting coach Luke Walton in addition to around $60 million in cap space gives the Lakers brass belief that they can appeal to Durant. Instead of tasking him with leading their clearly talented young unit, they believe they can bring in two top free agents this summer and become a new proposition entirely.

"'We want to pitch guys on combinations, as opposed to just one guy," the source said. "We'll say to a guy, 'Who do you want to play with? We've got the room to go get him.'"

"In addition to Durant, some players the Lakers have an interest in are Harrison Barnes, Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford, sources say."

The Lakers are clearly intent on putting their franchise worst-ever season behind them, where they mustered only 17 wins.

Even if the Lakers get the opportunity to make this pitch to Durant, it's still a long shot. The Purple and Gold are one of those storied franchises that like to dream big, but their failure to lure LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and even LaMarcus Aldridge in recent years suggests that their charms aren't necessarily in line with their outlook.

All in all, it's a stretch to believe the Lakers can be a title contender in the next year or two. KD might enjoy the idea of filling Kobe's shoes, but there's simply better options available for the 27-year-old right now.

Western Conference
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Kobe Bryant
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant

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