UPDATE 6/24/16 (2:48 PM PT): According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Los Angeles Lakers are not expected to gain a meeting with Kevin Durant:
Despite years of speculation about Durant possibly signing with his hometown Washington Wizards or the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of his situation told USA TODAY Sports that those two teams are not expected to land a meeting with the former MVP.
This summer there is no doubt as to who is the top target in free agency as teams are lining up to try and convince Kevin Durant to join their franchise. The Los Angeles Lakers have long been one of the teams expected to strongly pursue him, but were always considered a long shot and that still looks to be the case as free agency approaches.
At midnight on July 1 teams will officially be able to meet with potential free agents and the Durant meetings are already being set up ahead of that time.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they are not among the initial list of teams that Durant is currently setting up meetings with at the outset of free agency according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:
Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations with the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Thunder, league sources said.
Wojnarowski does note that the Lakers, among other teams, could still eventually get a meeting with Durant, but are on the outside at this time:
Several teams that have interest in Durant – the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards – could still find audiences with him, but appear to be outsiders in the process now.
Though there had been some rumors about Durant potentially joining the Lakers, it started to become pretty clear that the team was a long shot to land him, especially with Durant saying that his free agency choice will be a ‘basketball decision.’
While the Lakers have certainly improved their roster, they are still in the midst of a re-building process and aren’t close to championship contention which is what Durant is looking for at this time. The Lakers simply can’t compete with the likes of the Warriors and Spurs on that level just yet.
If there is a potential silver lining in this it is that this would force the Lakers to focus on others aside from their biggest target which had been their downfall. With no Durant meeting the Lakers would likely turn to players such as Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford.