Kevin Durant is the next megastar to hit free agency, but that blip should be off everyone's radar for now, especially the Los Angeles Lakers. It's not that the summer of Durant isn't important -- his decision is going to alter the NBA landscape akin the two times LeBron James switched up his jersey -- but it's that we're so far away and have absolutely no idea what's going to happen between now and his decision.
Watching free agency unravel over the last month has been something of a revelation. Reports trickle as league insiders gossip, but that doesn't mean there's any bite to the barking that goes on. There's absolutely no way to project what a player will do when push comes to shove. The list of names that were "interested" in signing with LA was expansive this summer, ranging from Rajon Rondo to Jimmy Butler to Kevin Love. Let's not forget the Lakers were set to hold a meeting with Love, only they wound up not even having a chance to sit down with him.
The only meeting Love took was with the Players' Tribune staff to announce he's not leaving Cleveland.
It's July and there are already Durant murmurings which -- of course -- trace back to the possibility of the Lakers signing him. When reports come out that the Lakers are "in the mix" for Kevin, as Ken Berger of CBS Sports recently wrote, it's in everyone's best interest to file it away and move on without thinking about it twice:
Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they're an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant's hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.
These kinds of reports are going to be written over the next several months. It's not that Berger isn't well connected, or that he's making things up. He's putting forward the kind of information he's acquired from the league sources he has ties too, which is a great service to anyone interested in the topic. Investing into what people who aren't either Kevin Durant or from the future will only leave you broke.
Keeping these kinds of things in perspective is important for trudging through a long season, with undoubtedly more sourced whispers about what Kevin Durant might do when he becomes a free agent. Maybe he will make his way to the Lakers, but there's absolutely no reason to devour the headlines that will pop up over the next year. If you want to dream, dream, but this is the official disclaimer. We'll know what he's doing when he's ready to finalize his next career move in ink.