The Kevin Durant free agency rumor mill has been busy churning out potential landing spots for the Oklahoma City Thunder star. While fans of the 2014 NBA MVP hope that he stays with Russell Westbrook, other members of the basketball community are eager to see where he will sign soon. The list of possible teams to sign Durant includes the Golden State Warriors, where he can create a super team with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson; the San Antonio Spurs, where the stability of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker is alluring; and the Los Angeles Lakers, where a reunion with Westbrook is reportedly promised by the Kobe Bryant squad. It appears, however, that two more teams have expressed interest in Durant's free agency - the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks.
The Houston Rockets are currently at the seventh seed in the Western Conference, a game away from the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks which tied in sixth place. Amid the changes in the coaching staff and trades in the middle of the season, the Jason Terry squad is still hanging on to a possible NBA playoffs spot. Notably, this season has been quite a bust for the Houston Rockets as the deal with Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets failed to provide James Harden with the much-needed help in the hardwood court. Moreover, The Beard cannot seem to mesh well with former Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard.
Hence, the Houston Rockets are in search for a basketball star who can complement Harden. With the widely reported free agency of Durant, speculations are rife that the possibility of signing the Oklahoma City Thunder star becomes a priority for the struggling team. How will the Houston Rockets match the offers of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers? What is their advantage over Kawhi Leonard, Harrison Barnes and D'Angelo Russell?
The answer appears to be simple. The Houston Rockets plan to use the friendship between Harden and Durant to their advantage. As former teammates in the Oklahoma City Thunder, is there really a possibility for the two to reunite in the Houston Rockets roster?
"The Rockets' best player and leading scorer will become the main recruiter this summer in the franchise's quest to sign Kevin Durant, whom Harden played with for three seasons in Oklahoma City," revealed Calvin Watkins of ESPN. He added, "Selling points for the Rockets include no state income tax in Texas, ability to team up with one of the league's best scorers in Harden, and a bigger city with more marketing opportunities compared to Oklahoma City."
Meanwhile, Harden appeared to have confirmed the news. Although he did not specifically name Durant, the Houston Rockets star seemingly hinted at pursuing top players in the league this NBA offseason. Needless to say, Durant is the biggest player to hit the free agency soon.
Harden shared, "In order to put yourself as an elite team, you always got to have talent, right? You always got to get better and find ways to improve. That's any team." He further commented, "I'm trying to win. Whatever it takes for me to put myself in a situation to win, I'm going to do it."
However, Harden may have a tough competitor in Carmelo Anthony. The New York Knicks star, who has been open with his desire to get off the NBA playoffs rut they are stuck with, shared that he will be part of the recruitment process come the offseason. With the huge budget of the New York Knicks and the appeal of playing in the basketball mecca, Anthony is reportedly targeting a deal with Durant.
"Put me at the head of the table and let's go to work," said Anthony of the free agency market and the New York Knicks' recruitment plans. He added, "If we want this team to be better, if we want more pieces of this team, I don't have a choice but to go out there and do my job and try to get people to come and for them to see it from my perspective [more] than anybody else's perspective, see it from a player's perspective."