While the NBA Draft has dominated news the past couple days, free agency has lurked in the background. Even on Draft Night yesterday, free agency creeped in with Adrian Wojnaroswki reporting on Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.
Woj said that the “Warriors, Nets, Knicks, and Clippers” are in “serious consideration” for Kevin Durant. This isn’t that surprising, but still bodes well for the Clippers. The Knicks have been the long-rumored destination for Durant, but the talks of him going to the Knicks have cooled considerably in recent weeks. No other top-tier free agents are predicted to go there, and the Knicks missed out on Zion Williamson. The Nets are in the running for Kyrie Irving, and have space for KD, but Woj also reported that Durant will make his decision independent of any other free agent. The Warriors are obviously the “safe” option - KD could pick up his option and rehab on their dime, and be with teammates he knows on a team that will still be very good. However, the rumors of him wanting to leave Golden State have been around for so long that hopefully there’s some fire there. If all plays out well, the Clippers could be one of KD’s top two choices.
As for Kawhi, Woj said that in addition to the Raptors and Clippers, he will take meetings with the Knicks, Sixers, and possibly the Nets. However, he emphasized that the Clippers and Raptors are still the frontrunners to sign Leonard. The presence of other suitors is concerning, but as mentioned above, the Knicks just don’t appear to be an attractive situation right now, and the Nets are after other targets more than Kawhi. The Sixers are a new addition, but it seems like they too have their priorities in bringing back their own free agents in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. If they can get Kawhi, they will, but it seems unlikely.
Essentially, the Clippers, per Woj, are still holding strong on the top two free agents on the market. They are certainly not way out in front on either Kawhi or Durant, but remain in the hunt, and that’s all that can be asked of them in a market where the players control the ultimate outcome.