As speculation continues around where Kevin Durant will sign in free agency, the Nets have moved up in the race.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Nets are growing confident they can convince Durant to sign with Brooklyn when free agency starts.
“The Nets are gaining confidence that they can pull this off,” Windhorst said Friday on “The Jump” in reference to Brooklyn’s bid to create two max contract spots for Durant and Kyrie Irving to fill. “They’ve made three moves in the last week … they’re right there for a second (max) slot.”
Kendrick Perkins, a former teammate of Durant’s when the two played for the Thunder, added to Windhorst’s report: “I think they’re the front-runner. I absolutely do. I think the Nets are the front-runner to land KD. … I’m not ruling out the Knicks, but I think the Nets are the front-runners and people are not giving them their (respect).”
Host Rachel Nichols pressed Perkins, asking if he learned that information directly from Durant. But he laughed it off and had a coy response: “Sources tell me that the Nets are the front-runner … we’ll leave it at that.”
Windhorst added that others involved with the NBA also believe the Nets are front-runners.
Durant can become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his $31.5 million option with the Warriors. The Knicks and Clippers have also been mentioned as teams interested in signing the forward in free agency, which begins June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.
It had been speculated that Durant would decline his player option and leave the Warriors, but his long-term future became complicated when he ruptured his Achilles in the NBA Finals. He had surgery, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it’s likely he will miss all of next season as he recovers.