The Mavericks believe they’re legitimate contenders for Kevin Durant next summer, buoyed as they are by their agreements to sign DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com. Of course, they’ll have plenty of competition, as many teams will no doubt line up for a chance at the player atop the 2016 free agent class. The Wizards have reportedly loomed as the top threat to the Thunder for the former MVP. Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- One lottery team took Willie Cauley-Stein off its board completely over concerns about his surgically repaired left ankle, while another two teams cleared him, but “just barely,” according to Mannix, who writes in the same piece. The Kings drafted Cauley-Stein sixth overall.
- The Warriors didn’t have any option of moving David Lee for no salary in return when they agreed to take on Gerald Wallace from the Celtics, according to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. The trade agreement nonetheless shrinks Golden State’s projected outlay from nearly $150MM in combined payroll and tax payments to about $128MM, Kawakami writes.
- Suns coach Jeff Hornacek knows and likes Derrick Favors from his time as a Jazz assistant coach, but Utah is firm in its position to keep the power forward, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, suggesting that Phoenix is more likely to make a major addition via trade than free agency at this point. Speculation linking the Suns to Ryan Anderson doesn’t seem likely to bear fruit, Coro adds.
- The Thunder met with free agent Keith Appling on Tuesday, a visit that could lead to a training camp invitation, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The former Michigan State point guard was with the Lakers for preseason this past fall.