As always, when a superstar nears free agency, people start speculating. Where will Kevin Durant end up? Will he stay with his talented OKC squad, or flee to another franchise? For months destinations like DC and New York have been rumored. There was the famous dust-up with Stephen A. Smith over the Lakers rumblings.
One thing is for sure: there will be a large number of teams gunning for Durant. The Houston Rockets are no exception, and according to the Houston Chronicle, the team has set themselves up nicely to make a run at one of the top five players in the NBA.
Here’s more from their story:
The Rockets won’t simply have an open spot. They’ll have cash and flexibility. They’ll have a short-term vision (NBA championship) and long-term sights (more championships). And if it all works and multiple moves click at once – just like they did when Ty Lawson, Harden and Howard suddenly showed up Monday night in downtown Houston – the Rockets could re-sign D12 and ink OKC’s current No. 35 in a single crazy summer.
Of course, there will be the small-market proud, annually dangerous Thunder, who have the ridiculously talented Russell Westbrook under contract through 2017 and a strong eight-season relationship with Durant to stand on. And K.D.’s hometown Wizards. And probably the Lakers, Mavericks and any other high-rolling team that can pay for a LeBron James to South Beach type of instant contender infusion as a soaring salary cap approaches $90 million and the league starts to rake in huge new TV money.
But the potential of Durant in Rockets red already makes basketball and fiscal sense. And don’t think Harden’s ex-teammate – who still has strong ties in Austin and acknowledged Houston feels comfortable – hasn’t noticed what owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey have done to the place in the last few years.
“They like to swing for the fence here,” said Durant, before gliding onto the Toyota Center hardwood Monday for a standard 29 points, four made 3s, four boards and two blocks during a 110-105 defeat that gave the Rockets their first win of the season.
“They’re trying to get a lot of guys here surrounding James,” Durant said. “They got some guys, they missed out on a few guys, but they still have a really, really good team. And they built it around James. Their front office and ownership, I’m sure, had him in mind whenever they made moves. They (turned) into a contender.”