While it's evident that the Wizards aren't in Kevin Durant's plans for free agency, they aren't holding out hope to make a pitch just for appearance sake. They've moved on, and league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com on Monday that the idea of returning home just "doesn't resonate" with the NBA's hottest unrestricted free agent.
There'll be no meeting.
Contracts for the 2015-16 season expire Thursday and free agency opens Friday, and Durant has lined up meetings with suitors in New York. Regardless if he opts to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder, or leave for the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs -- the favorites for his services -- Durant is likely to sign a two-year deal with an opt out for 2017 because he can re-negotiate a longer one under a bigger cap number ($94 million for this upcoming season vs. $108 million-plus projection starting next year).
Though the Wizards' 41-41 season didn't help, there were non-basketball reasons he wanted to stay away from D.C., too, CSN was told. Because of this, another person said there is no plan to wiggle their way in with Durant in the 11th hour of the process nor does Durant's side anticipate a meeting of any sort.
For the Wizards, they've already shifted to Plan B which is building around what they believe is a solid core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre.
They were stuck between styles as they transitioned from two traditional bigs in the starting five to a pace-and-space unit that was battered in the paint with Kris Humphries and then Jared Dudley as the starting "stretch" forwards. When Morris was acquired in a February trade, they found the balance needed though it was too late to turn things around.
They have non-guaranteed deals with Jarell Eddie and Drew Gooden to make decisions on by July 15, before they become fully guaranteed. Eddie will play at Las Vegas summer league. If they move on from Gooden, there's a strong chance he can be used in a trade package to fill out the roster.
There are plenty of quality free agents to be had on the market to resuscitate the Wizards into a playoff team again. They missed for the first time in three seasons. But with 20-plus teams having cap room for a max player and the limit rising by $24 million from 2015-16 season, it's hard to predict movement and how the chips will fall this summer.
And none of them has the superstar quality or lure of Durant.
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