Kevin Durant will meet with the Thunder, Warriors, Spurs, Celtics, Heat and Clippers once free agency begins. Even if he’s favoring one team or another, each of those six will get a chance to sway him.
One team’s approach though already looks less than than inspiring.
To make the most competitive offer possible, the Clippers would have to trade J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and C.J. Wilcox and renounce the rights to first-round pick Brice Johnson and all of their own free agents.
The Clippers could also discuss scenarios in which they trade one member of their “Big Three,” either to a team with cap space or to the Thunder in a sign-and-trade.
If the Clippers clear their roster of everyone but Paul, Jordan and Griffin, they still couldn’t offer Durant a max contract. Maybe he’d accept less (projected to be about $7 million less over a four-year contract). But would that really be his most appealing option? Even with Durant, shedding every other player – including the underrated Redick – would leave the Clippers vulnerable.
Or the Clippers could trade one of their stars to clear cap space, but that would make them less impressive on the court. Durant probably wouldn’t be keen on that.
The Clippers’ best bet is probably convincing Durant to take a one-year contract then hoping they’re better positioned in 2017.