Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant isn’t eligible to be an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2016, but that won’t stop NBA teams from looking ahead and preparing for the possibility that he’ll reach the open market.
According to the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn Nets will target the 25-year-old forward.
“The impending Durant free agency bonanza should start picking up steam next season and will undoubtedly engulf the NBA in the summer of 2016,” Stefan Bondy writes. “And make no mistake: the Nets are targeting Durant, the 25-year-old offensive juggernaut, even if it’s too early to predict their odds.
“The Nets could be committed to no salary when Durant becomes a free agent, depending on whether Deron Williams picks up his one-year option for the 2016-17 season. Everybody else is off the books.”
Durant is in the middle of a historic scoring run with 12 consecutive 30-point games, four away from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s record of 16 in a row, set in the 2002-03 season. The Thunder forward has a staggering 31.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game stat line this season, and he’s also the leading candidate for NBA MVP honors.
Durant has not given any indication that he will leave Oklahoma City after the five-year extension he signed in 2010 expires.
Oklahoma City has an impressive roster of young and talented players, and it would be surprising if the team wasn’t among the top three or four NBA championship contenders for the foreseeable future. The Thunder have proven that even without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook — who’s played in just 25 games this season because of injuries — they’re capable of being the best team in an ultra-competitive Western Conference. Entering Thursday’s action, OKC has a 3 1/2-game lead atop the West standings with a 9-1 record in its last 10 games.
Unfortunately for Durant, he’ll face questions about his future with the Thunder until he signs another contract. It’s one of the distractions that megastars like him are forced to deal with in today’s NBA.