Lakers, Knicks may be sitting atop Durant’s free-agent radar

Warriors star forward Kevin Durant can opt out of his contract and become a free agent at the end of the season.

Kevin Durant’s recent dust-up with Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green has led to plenty of free-agent speculation surrounding Durant, who can enter unrestricted free agency at season’s end.

And according to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, Durant will consider both the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks once summer rolls around and his contract expires.

“I’m hearing the Knicks and the Lakers, with the Lakers having the edge,” Smith said on his radio show, via Bleacher Report. “That’s what I’m hearing. Two weeks ago, I heard the Knicks had the edge. Now, I hear the Lakers have the edge. Let me tell you something, it appears to be one of those two teams which is Kevin Durant’s next destination. But Golden State is telling me: ‘There’s no way in hell we believe he’s leaving. We believe Kevin Durant’s gonna stay.’”

Before you brush off the fact this was Stephen A., consider that he accurately called LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat back in 2010 — and Smith called it first. Also, as someone who co-hosts his own show on ESPN, Smith always receives plenty of inside information from movers and shakers throughout the league.

Durant has a player option worth $31.5 million for next season but has the ability to opt out. Considering he has yet to say he’s picking up the option, well, it’s left the door open for speculation.

Green even mentioned Durant’s free agency during their heated in-game exchange, according to a report from Marc Spears on The Undefeated. The result was a one-game suspension for Green, courtesy of the Warriors.

“With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back,” Thompson quoted a Warriors player as saying. “The only hope is that they can say this summer, ‘See, KD. We’ve got your back. We protected you from Draymond.’”

Durant and the Warriors are 12-3 entering Thursday’s game at Houston. Durant is averaging 27.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

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