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Reading the tea leaves on Kevin Durant's free agency ... in 2016

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Isola in the Daily News takes a look at what might appear to be team-neutral news on Kevin Durant signing a $35 million deal with UnderArmour but finds in it a possible link to KD's future, when he becomes a free agent in 2016.

A deal with Under Armour could also be beneficial to the Washington Wizards, one of several teams, including the Knicks and Nets, putting themselves in position financially to make a run at Durant in two summers.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and Under Armour Founder/CEO Kevin Plank, a University of Maryland graduate, have been involved in several philanthropic endeavors in the D.C. area.

Isola looks at the other possible "in's" that KD candidates could have when he becomes a free agent in 2016, among them the Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets could have a friend in Jay Z, who once held a minority stake in the club and is currently the founder of Roc Nation, the agency that signed Durant as a client. Moreover, Jay Z hired Michael Yormark, formerly the CEO of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, to become his president and chief of branding and strategy at Roc Nation. Yormark’s twin brother, Brett, is the CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.

But here's something few have looked at. If Durant wants an owner committed to winning, will he go with a team that's never, under its current ownership, paid the luxury tax?  Neither the Thunder nor the Wizards have paid a dime in luxury taxes and won't this year either.  Nor have the Warriors, Hornets and Pelicans, according to Mark Deeks' authoritative history of luxury tax payments.  That's obviously not an issue with the Nets.