Lakers Looking To Hit Grand Slam In Free Agency

Some news and views as the 2016 NBA free agency period is just a few hours away:

The prize of the ’16 free agency class is Kevin Durant and the overwhelming feeling among NBA officials is that he’ll remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But if Durant leaves, most believe he’ll choose between the Golden State Warriors or the Los Angeles Clippers. As one of Durant’s confidantes told recently told me, “It’s all about winning for Kevin. He wants a ring.’’

But there have been whispers in recent days that the Los Angeles Lakers are almost obsessed about winning the Daily Double of Durant and … LeBron James.

That seems totally ludicrous, especially with James having repeatedly stating he intends on remaining in Cleveland. But two NBA officials told me Thursday they aren’t totally dismissing the Lakers’ chatter, knowing how desperate they are for being a viable contender again and knowing they have the financial wherewithal to accommodate both superstars.

Also:

  • There is growing sentiment around the league that former Bulls standout Joakim Noah will wind up with the New York Knicks, although Washington and Orlando have more than a passing interest in him.
  • Another former Bulls star Pau Gasol is understandably being courted by a slew of teams, including the Warriors. “He’d be the perfect fit for them,’’ an assistant general manager said. Of course, Gasol, one of the best all-around bigs in the game, would be a perfect fit for just about any team.
  • Speaking of bigs, Dwight Howard can virtually pick his team, too, although it is believed the Boston Celtics are the frontrunners for his services.
  • The Bucks made one of the biggest splashes in the free agency pool last summer when they landed Greg Monroe.

Bucks officials fairly gushed about signing Monroe and boasted how Milwaukee would become a big-name free-agent destination.

Of course, talk is cheap, and we’ll find out rather quickly whether any blue-chip free agent will sign on the dotted line with them. Any blue-chip free-agent not represented by Jeff Schwartz, that is.

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