Although the Golden State Warriors had as successful of a meeting with Kevin Durant as they could have possibly hoped for, his odds of joining the Warriors next season are still unclear.
The Warriors didn’t get a definitive read on where Durant was leaning after the meeting, but this might be due more to Durant’s soft spoken demeanor than anything else.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were apparently thrilled with the response they got from Durant after their meeting with him, but it’s hard for them to be objective about it. They could just as easily be projecting emotions on him that aren’t there, unless he actually gave them a direct quote regarding how sure he was of re-signing.
ESPN sources say a successful meeting Thursday with Kevin Durant has put OKC in a strong position as KD readies to meet with five more teams
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2016
Still, as his meetings with other teams continue, it’s fair to assume that the sweepstakes goes on. He’d essentially be wasting his time if he continued meeting with teams he had no intention of joining. It’s fun to feel courted by people wanting your services, but Durant seems like he’s closer to “nondescript worker who just wants to play basketball” than “egomaniacal showman who wants to feel loved” on the spectrum of modern athlete psyches.
The Warriors should still feel optimistically confident, yet prepared to move on if Durant doesn’t choose them. A rumor that Ramona Shelburne is citing involves the Warriors and Pau Gasol, and how Gasol coming to the Bay Area is a real possibility.
One sneaky team to watch in Pau Gasol free agency: Golden State Warriors. If they miss on KD, been told they are… https://t.co/lPGGBCs4O9
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 1, 2016
Gasol might be about to turn 36, but he proved last season that he still has a lot in the tank.
He was one of just 9 players to average a double-double last season, scoring 16.5 points per game and grabbing 11 rebounds per game.
He’s also still a dynamic rim protector, averaging 2 blocks per game last season. He can play either center or power forward.
If Festus Ezeli leaves as a restricted free agent, the Warriors could bring in Gasol and essentially trade youth for production.
Gasol has implied that roster talent is the most important thing to him, and this Warriors team won an NBA record 73 wins last season.
Pay attention to this intriguing fallback option should the Warriors miss out on Durant. Gasol can score inside, rebound, protect the rim, and has a great midrange jumper. He would be a fantastic addition to an already talented squad.