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NBA Free Agency: Thunder ‘strong frontrunner’ for Kevin Durant, according to report

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Teams are setting the groundwork for their chance at Kevin Durant even if they have to wait until 2017.

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant’s free agency bonanza hasn’t even officially begun but you can’t tell based on the news cycle. The week of free agency is upon us and Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical gave a fairly expansive update on what the Durant situation looks like right now. “I think that Oklahoma City remains the frontrunner,” Wojnarowski said on the Tiki and Tierney show on CBS Sports Radio. “And I think a strong frontrunner.”

Durant is planning meetings with the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics as of now. The Lakers are not expected to have any chance at him, and a meeting seems unlikely as of now.

Wojnarowski also notes a few caveats to consider, including the fact that no matter where Durant signs it’s likely to be a one-year deal with a player option. This allows him to sign a more lucrative long-term deal when the NBA salary cap takes another bump. Put it together you have Durant sticking with the Thunder for another season, then hitting free agency at the same time as Russell Westbrook, something else Wojnarowski notes is a reason staying with Oklahoma City is likely.

Even if Durant doesn’t pack up this summer, teams are still taking this as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the real chase next year, according to Wojnarowski:

“They feel like they're laying the groundwork for the 2017 free agency by getting in front of him now, tell him the story of their organization and how they view his future with them, and that maybe they get another crack at him next summer.”

Anything can happen once free agency meetings actually start rolling, but if Durant isn’t making a move this summer that keeps the dream alive for teams around the NBA that much longer. Expect the Durant Dilemma to be a very fluid situation from here on out.

*Quotes transcribed via CBS Sports Radio