The most sought-after NBA free agent on the market this summer will be superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant will have plenty suitors on the open market with the Los Angeles Lakers expected to be among the most aggressive teams pursuing the one-time NBA MVP.
At this point, there’s no telling where Durant may ultimately land in free agency. Oklahoma City remains a legitimate title contender in the Western Conference giving the team a great chance of retaining the face of the franchise, but there will be some stiff competition for Durant’s services come July 1.
Apparently, former Laker great and current NBA analyst, Shaquille O’Neal, believes Durant will sign with the Lakers this summer. Shaq made an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter and was asked where he thinks Durant end up in free agency with Los Angeles being the predicted destination for the superstar forward, via Vine:
A lot can happen between now and the start of NBA free agency on July 1. Although it will be a steep uphill battle in the West, Durant may help lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals and the team’s first title since moving to Oklahoma City. The result of the season for the Thunder will likely weigh heavily on his decision in free agency.
As for the Lakers, the struggling franchise will go all out this summer in an attempt to finally right the ship after three disappointing seasons. Los Angeles has missed the playoffs for three straight years and desperately need to turn things around, especially with Kobe Bryant now retired.
Along with having about $60 million in cap space, a potential top-three draft pick, and a talented young core of players, the Lakers could decide to make a coaching change that may appeal to Durant. A rumor surfaced this week that former Thunder head coach, Scott Brooks, is interested in the Lakers coaching job if the team parts ways with Byron Scott.
Durant will be one of many free agents the team will pursue in free agency with DeMar DeRozan, Hassan Whiteside, and Al Horford among other notables names the team could reach out to in July. It’ll be an interesting and crucial offseason for the Lakers with the end result being more of the same or a drastic turn of events that sets up the long-term future in the post Kobe-era in Los Angeles.