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

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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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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4

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