The Western Conference, dominated by the Golden State Warriors, is still fiercely competitive. Former NBA champs San Antonio Spurs are looking to recapture the title as Kawhi Leonard continues to grow in his leadership role and LaMarcus Aldridge adapting to the Tim Duncan team. However, third-placer Oklahoma City Thunder might give both the Tony Parker and Stephen Curry squads a run for their money come the NBA playoff season.
The team up of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is one of the most widely admired partnerships in the league. Similar to the pairing of Klay Thompson and Curry, the Oklahoma City Thunder stars are known to unselfishly help each other out in the hardwood court. However, it looks like the Durant-Westbrook team up will be broken soon.
The impending free agency of Durant has placed him at the center of NBA trade rumors in the past weeks. The Oklahoma City Thunder star has been reportedly eyed by a number of basketball teams which include the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Apart from these NBA teams, Durant's current squad is also part of the list.
Among all the teams linked to Durant this NBA season, the Golden State Warriors are reportedly the frontrunners. Sources claim that the Oklahoma City Thunder star has no intention of signing for teams that might need too much time before becoming championship contenders. That is, Durant will only be successfully lured away by a team capable of bringing home the NBA Finals trophy.
With these conditions in mind, the Los Angeles fail to qualify. While the exit of Kobe Bryant from the squad will give the NBA team a sizeable cap space to offer Durant a massive salary, the group is composed of young stars. At the moment, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of rebuilding their squad with the likes of D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle as key pieces. Hence, the NBA team is far away from becoming championship contenders.
"The Lakers are not front-runners for Kevin Durant, he wants to win a championship," said Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical during an interview on the Fox Sports Radio Show. He added, "If he leaves Oklahoma, he may end up staying there and I've written that. Golden State is a team that is worrisome for Oklahoma City -- that's a team that has Kevin Durant's attention. Kevin Durant wants to win a championship right away and either he wants to do that in Oklahoma City with the group they have or he's going to go somewhere where he can win a title right away."
Durant is reportedly taking the possibility of moving to the Golden State Warriors locker room seriously. While the combination of his skills with Westbrook is undoubtedly impressive, the Oklahoma City Thunder lack the support system to win a championship.
Wojnarowski shared, "Kevin Durant doesn't care if they have the first pick, the second pick, third pick; no free agent cares. No free agent of his stature cares what draft pick a team has because that guy is not going to help them win championships in the next two or three years. And if Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma, he wants to be ready to win a championship right away."
"He's at a point in his career where he cant wait two or three years and hope that it happens. I think part of his criteria, sources tell me, will be, 'Is that team good enough to beat Golden State with me on it? Or is it Golden State? Or can I stay in Oklahoma and continue to be able to do that and compete for a championship?'" Wojnarowski further noted. He added, "Listen, I just don't think that the Lakers are a real significant factor for Kevin Durant."