So, if the Lakers can't land Kawhi Leonard (hello, Boston?) in order to help lure LeBron James to Los Angeles, is Kevin Durant the backup plan?
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reports that James texted Durant about joining him with the Lakers.
I'm being told LeBron James texted Kevin Durant about coming to LA. pic.twitter.com/jJyeOOSgxN— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 28, 2018
Later Thursday, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shot down that report, and that James' move to L.A. was dependent on Leonard.
Sources close to LeBron: He didn't text KD and his going to the Lakers would not be sealed (or doomed) by whether or not they trade for Kawhi. ... Man, we'll all be better when this is over, one way or the other— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) June 28, 2018
Now, LeBron's impending free agency has been well chronicled and he faces a deadline Friday to let the Cavs know if he'll opt out. Durant also holds a $26.25 million player option for next season. He told the Athletic back in March he'd be staying with Golden State when asked if he was 100 percent certain he'd be back with the Warriors.
Here's a theory on what LeBron's pitch to Durant would be, via Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com's Pro Basketball Talk:
If I'm LeBron, here's the move: Call KD, explain you know the value of going to a winning franchise and learning, but also that you know building your own team is far more rewarding. Tell KD he's ready to graduate and they can partner to build the Lakers.— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) June 9, 2018
Durant was roundly criticized for joining a ready-made championship team when he went from the Oklahoma City Thunder to Golden State in 2016. Would starting from scratch - with Paul George as part of a Big Three - be more satisfying?