Most of the talk this summer surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder has involved former MVP Kevin Durant.
There’s a good reason behind this. Durant is slated to become a free agent just shortly after midnight Friday morning on the east coast. At that point, the Thunder forward will begin a whirlwind weekend including visits with five other teams.
However, the Thunder are not sitting back intent on waiting for Durant to make what might be a league-altering decision.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Oklahoma City plans to make a run at Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford when free agency opens for business.
As currently constructed, Oklahoma City would not be able to lure Horford to the team while still finding itself in position to retain Durant.
Instead, the Thunder are reportedly making calls around the NBA in hopes of sending away a massive amount of salary cap space.
Following the trade of Serge Ibaka earlier in the summer, process of elimination is working in our favor here.
It’s not conjecture to point out that the players Oklahoma City may be looking to deal include Enes Kanter ($17.1 million) and Ersan Ilyasova ($8.4 million).
While those contracts might be hard to deal, the Thunder are definitely making sure to show Durant they are serious about upgrading a roster that was tantalizingly close to beating the defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.
Horford, 30, averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 51 percent from the field last season.
The one major connection here is between the former Florida big man and his ex-coach with the Gators Billy Donovan, who now mans the bench in Oklahoma City.
They have a built-in relationship and were successful on college basketball’s grandest stage, winning two national titles together.