A successful meeting Thursday with Kevin Durant and his closest confidantes has put the incumbent Oklahoma City Thunder in a strong position as Durant moves into meetings with his five free-agent suitors, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that Thursday’s five-hour meeting with Thunder officials at Chesapeake Energy Arena “went well” before Durant, his agent and business manager Rich Kleiman, and longtime friend and manager Charlie Bell boarded a flight to New York to prepare to start huddling with other teams Friday.
A firm decision on where to play next season from the four-time scoring champion and his trusted advisers, sources said, is expected “sooner rather than later” after they finish hosting the five teams that have secured invitations to the Hamptons for weekend sitdowns with Team Durant.
Multiple sources, including friends and business associates of Durant, previously told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears that barring an unbelievable pitch from the other teams trying to woo Durant, those close to him expect Durant to return to the Thunder next season.
“His decision is 90 percent made,” a longtime friend told Spears. Said another colleague: “It’s going to take some sweet-talking to get him to pass up all the money he can get by staying in OKC.”
As ESPN.com reported Wednesday night, Durant’s schedule features recruiting meetings Friday with contingents from the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, followed by planned meetings Saturday with the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, then a Sunday meeting with the Miami Heat.
ESPN.com first reported earlier Thursday that the Thunder hope to secure their own meeting with Durant and his advisors in the Hamptons after the five external suitors have an opportunity to make their respective pitches.