Josh Schrock

NBA rumors: Clippers have great chance to land Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard

NBA rumors: Clippers have great chance to land Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard

The NBA landscape could look a lot different next season.

The power obviously currently resides in the Bay Area, with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and the Warriors vying to win their third consecutive NBA title and fourth in five seasons. 

But with a number of stars either slated to hit the free-agent market this summer or expected to opt out of their contracts, the dynamic of the league could shift pretty drastically, and based on the latest report, it could shift to Southern California.

No, we aren't talking about the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Clippers long have been thought to be the favorites to land Kawhi Leonard in free agency, but Stephen A. Smith said Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take" that he's hearing there is a "better than 50 percent chance" the Clippers will sign both Leonard and Durant this summer.

Durant, the two-time NBA Finals MVP, has the option to opt out of his current contract with the Warriors this summer -- a move that everyone expects him to make.

At the moment, the Clippers have enough salary-cap room to sign one max free agent, but with a little financial maneuvering, they could open a second slot.

Leonard, a Riverside native, is expected to leave the Toronto Raptors for his hometown, with the Clippers being seen as the heavy favorites over the Lakers.

[RELATED: Here are potential scenarios for Warriors vs. Rockets Game 1]

As for Durant, he has made a point that he has not yet decided his future. Rumors have swirled all season about the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors to head to the New York Knicks and join forces with Kyrie Irving, who also can opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

Both the Warriors and Raptors have looked dominant so far in the playoffs, so perhaps Durant and Leonard can discuss their summer plans during what would be an epic NBA Finals matchup.

NBA playoff schedule 2019: Warriors vs. Rockets Game 1 scenarios

NBA playoff schedule 2019: Warriors vs. Rockets Game 1 scenarios

The Warriors and the Houston Rockets are on a collision course. That much is clear.

Both teams hold a commanding 3-1 lead in their respective first-round NBA playoff series, and can close out their opponents in their home arenas Wednesday night.

One more win by both the Warriors and Rockets would set up the most-anticipated second-round NBA playoff matchup in recent memory.

After the Rockets pushed the Warriors to the brink of elimination a year ago, NBA fans have been salivating at the thought of watching James Harden, Chris Paul and Co. getting another chance to dethrone the two-time defending champions. And the fun could get started this weekend.

If both the Warriors and Rockets take care of business in either Game 5 or 6, then their second-round series will begin Sunday, April 28, at 12:30 p.m. PT in Oakland. 

If the Rockets need a Game 7 against the Utah Jazz, then the Warriors would not begin their second-round series until either Tuesday or Wednesday. However, if the Jazz push the Rockets to Game 7, Clutch City will have bigger things to worry about than when Game 1 against the Warriors begins. 

[RELATED: Dubs look beyond, not past Clips, as Rockets series looms]

The Rockets and Warriors dueled in an epic seven-game series in last year's Western Conference finals, and there's little doubt the sequel will be just as exciting.

We just have to get there.

A's vs. Rangers lineup: Jurickson Profar, Mark Canha return for series finale


A's vs. Rangers lineup: Jurickson Profar, Mark Canha return for series finale

After being hammered by the A's 11-5 on Tuesday night, the Rangers got even more bad news Wednesday.

Left-hander Drew Smyly was expected to start on the mound, but he had to be sent to the injured list with tightness in his left arm. As a result, the Rangers will trot out reliever Kyle Dowdy for his first career start.

The A's eviscerated most of the Rangers' bullpen Tuesday, so getting to Dowdy early could spell trouble for Texas.

Oakland's lineup for Wednesday's matinee -- which serves as the East Bay appetizer for Warriors-Clippers Game 5 -- will look a little different. Jurickson Profar and Mark Canha both will return to the lineup after scheduled days off, while Chad Pinder moves to left field and Kendrys Morales and Robbie Grossman head to the bench.

Coverage of A's-Rangers begins at noon PT with A's Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the full lineups for Wednesday's A's vs. Rangers game:

Oakland A's (13-13)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
RF Stephen Piscotty
DH Khris Davis
LF Chad Pinder
1B Mark Canha
2B Jurickson Profar
CF Ramon Laureano
C Nick Hundley

Aaron Brooks, RHP (2-2, 5.32 ERA)

Texas Rangers (12-10)
LF Shin-Soo Choo
2B Danny Santana
DH Joey Gallo
RF Nomar Mazara
3B Asdrubal Cabrera
SS Logan Forsythe
1B Patrick Wisdom
C Jeff Mathis
CF Delino DeShields

Kyle Dowdy, RHP (1-0, 3.48 ERA)