The Los Angeles Lakers were not on the initial list of teams Kevin Durant is expected to meet with when free agency begins on July 1st, which would presumably make it harder for the team to fulfill Jim Buss alleged proclamation that the team would sign him.
The team hasn’t given up, however, with one unnamed team official telling Chris Broussard of ESPN "I can't imagine Durant wouldn't talk to us... That would shock me.”
Signing with them, however, is another matter entirely. The Lakers are in the beginning stages of a lengthy rebuild and Durant is 27-years old, presumably just entering his prime. In addition to being a scary thought for the 29 teams he won’t play for next season, this also means Durant is likely focused on finding an organization that will maximize his ablility to pump out titles over the next several years.
The Lakers don’t appear to have much of a case to do so, but Broussard reports his source believes otherwise:
The Lakers believe they have a pitch that will appeal to Durant and other free agents, said the source with knowledge of the team's thinking. With the ability to clear more than $60 million in cap space, they will attempt to sell stars on the potential of joining the Lakers with another top-tier free agent, the source said.
"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.'"
That sounds great on paper, but when looking at the other names on the market this summer, there doesn't appear to be any one other player that is good enough to where them joining the Lakers in conjunction with Durant would make that team better than the one Durant is leaving in Oklahoma City. Other Durant suitors like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs also would offer a more appealing basketball environment.
There would be plenty of off-court benefits for Durant if he were to join the Lakers, but given that doesn't seem to be his primary concern, it's hard to not view the Lakers continuing to chase him as a longshot at best and delusional at worst.
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