The Thunder are in a strong position to keep Kevin Durant as the final minutes tick away toward free agency, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. An unidentified friend of Durant’s says the Oklahoma City star’s decision is “90% made” after a meeting today with GM Sam Presti and assistant GM Troy Weaver. But Durant will go through with his meetings in the Hamptons Friday with the Warriors and Clippers, followed by the Spurs and Celtics on Saturday and the Heat on Sunday. OKC is hoping for another session with Durant after those meetings are done.
Durant was apparently swayed by the Thunder’s status as contenders and the extra cash he can receive by staying put. Oklahoma City can offer a five-year deal at about $30.6MM annually, compared to four years for other franchises with an annual salary in the neighborhood of $28.4MM. If Durant takes a two-year deal with the Thunder and opts out after next season, he could push that annual salary to approximately $40.7MM. According to Spears, that will most likely be Durant’s decision.
Durant hopes to make up his mind “sooner rather than later” after the meetings are wrapped up, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Sources told Stein that today’s sit-down with the Thunder lasted five hours and “went well.”
Even so, the Warriors remain confident as they get their chance to talk to Durant, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Kennedy describes Durant as “intrigued” by the possibility of joining a team that just broke the regular season record for wins.
Durant likes the idea of joining forces with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, writes Marcus Thompson of The San Jose Mercury News. A source told Thompson that if Durant signs with the Warriors, he would have a say in constructing the rest of the roster and in recruiting veterans to accept a discount for a chance at a title. One area of need could be a new center, as the Warriors have talked about trading current starter Andrew Bogut.