© Kyle Terada | 2019 Apr 13
As the June 30 kickoff for NBA free agency inches closer, the rumors and reports about the NBA’s most coveted free agent, Kevin Durant, are starting to heat up.
On the heels of a report from Bleacher Report‘s Ric Bucher that “Durant and (Kyrie) Irving, league sources say, have met twice in recent weeks to discuss their desire to continue their careers on the same team,” a new team has emerged as the favorite to land both Irving and Durant.
While most of the noise surrounding Durant has been about the superstar making Madison Square Garden his home with the New York Knicks, Caesars Palace now lists the Brooklyn Nets as the favorite to sign the two-time NBA Finals MVP. The Nets are already being viewed as a lock to land Irving, but pairing him with Durant would be a dream scenario for a franchise that hasn’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2014. Brooklyn currently has the best odds to land Durant at -125, but the Golden State Warriors, Durant’s current team, are close behind and have the second-best odds at +200. Vegas still sees the Knicks as a viable destination as well, they are +500, and the Los Angeles Clippers are +800.
New favorite in the race for KD:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 24, 2019
Durant is likely to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and while this is an injury that can change NBA careers for the worse, Durant is such a unique and special talent that he will still likely command as large a contract as possible on the open market. Both of the teams that reside in New York, the Nets and Knicks, have been shedding salary and creating cap space in order to land big-name players in free agency. The Knicks traded away Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks to get rid of some albatross contracts, and the Nets shipped Allen Crabbe and the $18,500,000 remaining on his contract to the Atalanta Hawks.
Shedding salary isn’t the only thing these teams are doing in order to lure Kevin Durant away from not only each other, but the behemoth in the Bay Area, as the Brooklyn Nets are exploring signing DeAndre Jordan, one of Durant’s best friends, to a contract, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. Jordan also spent the second-half of last season with the Knicks as a part of the Porzingis trade, and Stein also reported that they are interested in keeping Jordan as well, especially if it helps them land Durant.
Durant has yet to opt-out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors, which would pay him $31,500,000 next season, and even if he does choose to opt-out, he could also choose to stay with the Warriors for a 5-year supermax contract, which only they can offer and would pay him approximately $221,000,000. The max contract any other team can offer him is for four years and approximately $164,000,000.