The Clippers have started their wooing of free agents. Now comes the biggest pursuit. They will be among the first teams to make their pitch to Kevin Durant, meeting with the superstar free agent Friday in the Hamptons on Long Island, N.Y.
Durant is scheduled to convene with a contingent of Clippers officials after sitting down with representatives from the Golden State Warriors. Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations, team owner Steve Ballmer and other top basketball executives will take part in the presentation, with possible appearances from star players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Durant and Jordan have been working out together this summer in Los Angeles as recently as this week and will play for Team USA in the Olympics in August in Rio de Janeiro. The duo also vacationed together last summer in Europe.
The Clippers will lay out several possible scenarios for Durant, including one that would involve the creation of a “Big Four” with Durant should he be willing to accept slightly less than a maximum contract. That roster would be incredibly top-heavy, though, and would necessitate the Clippers trading shooting guard J.J. Redick and renouncing the rights to all of their free agents and draft picks, leading to a far lesser supporting cast.
The Thunder already got the first word in with Durant, meeting with the player who has spent his entire career with the franchise Thursday in Oklahoma City.
He’s reportedly slated to meet with the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics on Saturday, followed by the Miami Heat on Sunday. The Thunder are also expected to meet with Durant a second time before he makes his decision.
As expected, the Clippers reached out to the bulk of their own free agents Thursday once they were allowed to do so at 9:01 p.m. PDT. The lengthy list of players the team wants to keep includes Jamal Crawford, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Cole Aldrich, Luc Mbah a Moute and Wesley Johnson.
Team representatives met with Austin Rivers in Orlando, Fla., and Green in Miami but will need to fend off other suitors expected to meet with both players starting Friday. Crawford will also be hotly pursued, with the Orlando Magic scheduled to meet with him on Friday in Los Angeles.
One fallback scenario should the Clippers lose out on Crawford, Green and Rivers would be veteran forward Luol Deng, a former All-Star with the Chicago Bulls who averaged 12.3 points last season with the Miami Heat.
A person close to Mbah a Moute described the interest between the Clippers and the veteran forward as mutual but said a return hinges in part on what Durant does. Of course, the same could be said for every move the Clippers make this summer.