Like every summer, this year’s NBA free agency period is going to be an eventful one. Except this time, it might be amplified, thanks to an exploding salary cap that will jump from around $70 million to a projected $94 million for each team.
While players deserving of max contracts are generally up for debate amongst fans, one free agent that is undoubtedly a max player is Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.
Every single team that has cap space is hoping to at least land a meeting with Durant in an effort to pitch why he should join their roster, but to this point, he plans on meeting with just five teams. USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick reports that the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat have all secured meetings with Durant when free agency begins on July 1st.
As for the Lakers, though, it appears they will be on the outside looking in, not even landing a meeting with the 2014 league MVP, according to Amick, who tweeted that they have “no shot” at acquiring Durant this summer.
Despite years of speculation about Durant possibly signing with his hometown Washington Wizards or the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of his situation told USA TODAY Sports that those two teams are not expected to land a meeting with the former MVP.
There was certainly no shortage of speculation between Durant and the Lakers throughout the past two seasons, though it was mostly fan-driven. Los Angeles is usually linked in some capacity to every marquee free agent, given their track record of swinging for the fences when they have cap space to use. But it comes as no surprise that Durant has no interest in joining the rebuilding Lakers as he seeks his first NBA championship.
Los Angeles can now turn their attention to free agents that are more attainable, instead of spending time chasing a pipe dream. Perhaps they will keep working to secure a meeting with Durant, but odds are that they will be forced to spend their time wisely by pursuing other free agents.