John Wall thinks fan overreaction may have discouraged Kevin Durant from considering the Wizards in free agency, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Because Durant hails from the Washington, D.C., area, the Wizards were once thought to have a chance at landing him, but they aren’t among the seven teams expected to meet with Durant after free agency begins on Friday. “A lot of people will be devastated. But at the end of the day he never promised us anything,” Wall said. “Every day, everybody said KD-to-DC, coming to our games wearing all the Kevin Durant stuff, he didn’t like it at that time because you should cheer for the team that you got.”
There’s more news out of the Southeast Division:
- Of the Hornets‘ five free agents, Nicolas Batum is most likely to return next season, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell sees a 70% likelihood that Batum remains with in Charlotte, and GM Rich Cho has said keeping him is the team’s top offseason priority. Bonnell believs the Hornets will need to offer a five-year deal at more than $20MM per season to be sure of re-signing Batum. For the rest of the team’s free agents, Bonnell puts the chances of keeping Marvin Williams at 50%, Jeremy Lin at 40%, Al Jefferson at 25% and Courtney Lee at 20%.
- The Magic made good on their promise to be aggressive in trying to acquire veteran help when they pulled off a deal for Serge Ibaka, writes Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. The trade may have been necessary because of the impending free agency of shooting guards Evan Fournier, who will hit the market this summer, and Victor Oladipo, who was shipped to Oklahoma City in the deal and will become a free agent in 2017. The Magic didn’t expect to re-sign both, according to Taylor, and didn’t want to lose them without getting something in return.
- French shooting guard Isaia Cordinier, who was taken by Atlanta with the No. 44 pick in the draft, will probably play next season in France and join the Hawks for 2017/18, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Givony says Cordinier had a draft promise from a team in the late 30s or early 40s, but that team changed its mind and took someone else (Twitter link). Cordinier was expecting to join that franchise immediately and had asked other teams not to draft him (Twitter link).