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Report: Warriors are 'significant frontrunners' to sign Kevin Durant


Report: Warriors are 'significant frontrunners' to sign Kevin Durant

There's a connection making news between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors. No, it's not about the Washington Wizards facing both in consecutive games this week.

Just as the KD2DC buzz is cooling, the idea of Thunder star Kevin Durant joining the defending NBA Champions as a free agent gains steam. 

It's not just that the Warriors would throw their proverbial hat into the ring along with the Wizards, Lakers, Heat and basically every contender/ big market team. According to a report based on league sources from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, "If Durant leaves the Thunder, the Warriors are the significant frontrunners to sign him."

That sound you heard was every other team in the league gasping about the thought of Golden State' offensive juggernaut adding one of the league's all-time best shooters and point producers. 

The 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player becomes a free agent this summer. That's assuming Durant indeed enters free agency in July rather than delaying the open market by signing a one-year deal with the Thunder to match the contract length of tag-team partner Russell Westbrook. 

As the Wizards witnessed Monday in Oklahoma City, that combo plus the rest of the impressive roster can make a real run at a title. However, the same goes for the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. Those obstacles, particularly Golden State, likely exist for the 2016-17 title as well. According to Wojnarowski's reporting, getting a title is what matters to Durant most. That could mean he goes down the 'if you can't beat them, join them' path. 

Make no mistake: Durant isn’t close to gone in Oklahoma City – no decision, no leaning, sources said – but the real threats on the summer market are beginning to reveal themselves. Durant is determined to win – to be an immediate championship contender at 27 years old – and that keeps bringing him back to the Warriors should he make the decision to leave Oklahoma City.

Outside of a Thunder championship closing down the process before July 1, there’s a strong expectation that Durant will hit the road, tour campuses and become a recruit again.

The big free agents, they’re forever living one of two things in the months leading into summer: searching for reasons to stay, or searching for reasons to leave. Durant has always been looking for reasons to stay. He adores the Oklahoma City community and holds a fondness for the franchise, but Durant is chasing championships, chasing a legacy.

This limits his choices, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers with little, if any, chance.

Wojnarowski mentions Washington as one the well-known suitors. He explains that the Los Angeles Clippers are in it to win it for Durant even if it means trading Oklahoma native Blake Griffin. However, Wojnarowski also makes the case for why Golden State may trump all in the eyes of Durant.

The Warriors have a billion-dollar arena on the horizon in downtown San Francisco, expensive seats and suites to fill, a monster of a local television deal to feed. Golden State’s core is young, and Durant’s disposition fits the Warriors’ culture. He has won his scoring titles. He needs a legacy and believes fully that has to include multiple titles. He doesn’t want to wait for a new team to form around him, which is why it will still be hard to lure him from the Thunder.

Wizards fans reading that last sentence probably have a Steve Buckhantz "dagger" call running through their head. "He doesn’t want to wait for a new team to form around him." Obviously the Wizards, currently 11th in the Eastern Conference,  have some interesting pieces, namely John Wall and Bradley Beal. No offense to the starry backcourt, but that's not Stephen Curry and  Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and  coach Steve Kerr and at least one if not back-to-back NBA titles. 

We've seen plenty of reporting on Durant's future over the last two years. The Golden State angle is relatively new. We'll see what the future holds for the rumor mill over the next few months. But if Durant is insistent on landing with a ready-made winner and is open to leaving Oklahoma CIty, it's hard imagining a better scenario than Golden State. 

[RELATED: Buzz surrounding Kevin Durant quickly fades, as do Wizards]

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.