While NBA free agency has yet to officially begin, there’s been plenty of speculation involving LeBron James and Paul George. In stark contrast to that has been Kevin Durant, who also is due to hit the open market come July 1.
James and George have already declined to exercise the player options on their respective contracts. Meanwhile, Durant has yet to formally deliver his decision. Under normal circumstances he would be a hot commodity as a free agent.
But unlike when Durant left the Thunder in the summer of 2016, there’s a widely held expectation opting out is a mere formality to re-signing with the Golden State Warriors.
Yet, Durant was unwittingly mentioned in speculation that ran rampant. During Thursday’s episode of “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith reported James contacted Durant to discuss the possibility of joining forces on the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, among a couple others, no conversation took place:
Sources have denied reports that LeBron texted Kevin Durant about possibly joining him in L.A., but if Durant signs a one-year deal this summer (or a one-plus-one with player option in Year 2), you can bet your life savings that every desirable team will be circling him all season. Durant’s motives remain a mystery to everyone in the league.
Smith did note that Durant rejected James’ overture, and that representatives of the 14-time All-Star vehemently denied any text was sent.
Although somewhat surprising, it seemed reasonable that James would at least gauge Durant’s interest. A previous report indicated James was reaching out to players throughout the league that would be interested in playing alongside.
Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard reportedly spoke with James to voice his interest in becoming teammates, though it’s unclear under which circumstances the theoretical situation was pitched under. Leonard’s wish is to be traded to the Lakers but whether that will become a reality is hardly known.
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