According to online sportsbook BetDSI, the Lakers have the best odds (+150) of landing Durant, followed by the Golden State Warriors (+300) and the Philadelphia 76ers (+500). The New York Knicks, who Durant has been heavily linked to this season, are a distant fourth (+750).
Durant will be eligible for a four-year, max deal worth $38.15 million annually next summer. The Lakers will have roughly $38 million in cap space next season, just short of what Durant will command, but they could easily get there if they wanted to.
But why would Durant choose the Lakers over the other desirable free agent destinations in free agency? One word: LeBron James, who has already reportedly started working on convincing Durant to come to Los Angeles.
In moving to Golden State in 2016, Durant showed he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win a win championship, including, but not limited to, signing with a team that won 73 games in the regular season.
Outside of the Warriors, Durant’s easiest path to contention that doesn’t involve taking a pay cut is with James in Los Angeles. James has played with a handful of talented scorers in his illustrious career, but none as historically dominant as KD. As a pair, they would be the most one-two punch the Lakers have seen since Shaq and Kobe.
With the dysfunction in Golden State’s locker room, it’s looking like a near guarantee that Durant won’t be moving to San Francisco with the Warriors next year. If that’s the case, Lakers team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka will have the chance to fulfill their destiny of landing two superstar free agents in their first three years with the team.
It seems like a pipe dream now, but so did LeBron James at this time last year.
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