The Kevin Durant Sweepstakes are set to officially begin on July 1 when teams are allowed to meet with the NBA's most sought-after free agent this summer. While one team stands out as the overwhelming favorite to sign Durant, the four-time scoring champion is doing his due diligence, considering all his options.
Durant reportedly has meetings set with six teams with the potential to add more. The Oklahoma City Thunder are able to offer Durant a five-year contract, while the rest of the league can only offer him a four-year deal. But because the salary cap is expected to go from $94 million in 2016 to $108 million in 2017, Durant is likely to wait before signing a four or five-year deal.
Bovada.lv has set betting odds for nine teams that are looking to sign Durant this offseason.
Oklahoma City Thunder 1/6
It’s the option that’s made the most sense all along. Durant is expected to return to Oklahoma City on a two-year contract that would give him the option to become a free agent next summer. Doing so would allow him to make one more run at the title with Russell Westbrook, who has one year left on his contract. The Thunder took the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference finals this past season, and Oklahoma City would be in a strong position to reach the NBA Finals with both Durant and Westbrook on the team.
Golden State Warriors 4/1
Adding Durant would make Golden State the overwhelming favorites to win the 2017 title. The team won a record 73 regular-season games without Durant, and adding him would give the Warriors arguably four of the NBA’s 20 best players. The Warriors would have to create some salary cap space, ridding themselves of both Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.
Miami Heat 12/1
Pat Riley has shown what he can do in free agency before, convincing Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with Miami in 2010. With Wade and Durant on the same team, the Heat would certainly improve upon their 48-win season that made them the No.3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami, however, has work to do in order to create the cap space necessary to sign Durant, including signing Wade to a discounted contract.
New York Knicks 14/1
Durant doesn’t have a meeting scheduled with the Knicks, but he is reportedly at least considering New York among his options. The Knicks are a more attractive option now that they’ve traded for Derrick Rose, the 2011 MVP. But even with the chance to play alongside Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, Durant isn’t likely to leave Oklahoma City for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013.
San Antonio Spurs 16/1
As the standard of excellence in the NBA, San Antonio is likely an appealing option for Durant. Led by one of the greatest coaches in league history, the Spurs are always in contention for the title, winning at least 50 games in every year since 1999. San Antonio won 67 games a year ago, but they were eliminated by Durant and the Thunder in the second round.
Boston Celtics 20/1
If Durant was to switch conferences, signing with the Celtics might make the most sense. Boston won 48 games last year without a true superstar, and Durant would fill that void. He would be the clear No.1 option in Boston, unlike in Golden State, where he’d have to share touches with Stephen Curry.
Los Angeles Clippers 50/1
Durant will meet with the Clippers in New York, though there haven’t been any rumblings that L.A. has a real shot to sign him. In order for the Clippers to sign Durant, they’d likely have to trade Blake Griffin and create space under the salary cap.
Los Angeles Lakers 66/1
The Lakers aren’t giving up on their quest to land a meeting with Durant, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports the free agent won’t sit down with the team. L.A. is coming off its worst three-year stretch in franchise history, and even with Durant, the Lakers aren't expected to compete with the Warriors and Spurs.
Washington Wizards 100/1
It’s hard to believe that the Wizards were considered the biggest threats to the Thunder just a year ago. After making the playoffs in 2015, Washington finished 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards reportedly have no meeting scheduled with Durant, who has little incentive to join his hometown team. Even in a weak East, the Wizards wouldn’t be the favorites with Durant, who would have to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.