Report: Mavericks believe they are ‘legitimate contenders’ to land Kevin Durant in free agency next summer

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By the time Kevin Durant becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, he will have played eight of his nine NBA seasons in Oklahoma City.

While Durant claims to love the community and consistently says all the right things, the reality is that there are plenty of bigger cities available to play in that can provide a far more interesting lifestyle.

Washington, Los Angeles and New York were always viewed as realistic alternatives, should Durant in fact be interested in making a change. And now we have a new team to add to what is likely going to become an increasingly long list.

Chris Mannix of SI.com:

A byproduct of Dallas’s off-season haul: I’m told the Mavs now believe they are legitimate contenders in next summer’s Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Quite the turnaround in Big D.

That “haul” is in question at the moment, with DeAndre Jordan waffling on his decision to join the Mavericks, and taking a final meeting with the Clippers as he considers his options.

But setting all of that aside, it’s way too early to try to figure out which teams may or may not be a desirable destination for Durant. He may simply remain in Oklahoma City, especially if the Thunder were to win a title next season.

If we’re making a list now, Washington seems like the only place Durant would realistically consider. It would allow him to leave the Thunder without taking a hit to his image, because he could spin the same “going home” narrative that LeBron James was successful in pulling off during his return to Cleveland last summer.

But again, it’s far too soon to go down this road, despite this recent declaration that’s coming out of Dallas.