Wednesday’s roundup: Free-agent scramble draws near

Associated Press
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is one of the NBA's marquee free agents this offseason.

Kevin Durant has scheduled a meeting with the Heat on Sunday, according to ESPN.

That is after he meets with the Thunder — with which he is allowed to speak before Friday — and the Warriors.

Durant also is reportedly planning to meet with the Spurs, Clippers and Celtics, with the Knicks and Lakers trying to squeeze into the mix.

While Bovada has given the Heat the third-best odds to land Durant, well behind the Warriors and even further behind the heavily favored Thunder, Miami’s late meeting date is potentially problematic.

Hassan Whiteside has already indicated he wants his situation finalized Friday, the start of free agency, and Dallas — as’s Tim MacMahon said Tuesday — is prepared to offer a maximum deal as soon as free agency opens.

Also, ESPN is reporting Dwyane Wade’s representatives have made it known he could be available. The Heat not only want to re-sign Wade, but also need to agree to terms relatively quickly, to reduce his $30 million cap hold to whatever his new number is.

Miami’s other option is to renounce Wade, and return to him at the end of its dealings with other players, with whatever cap space remains.

If Durant leaves Oklahoma City, his new 2016-17 salary almost certainly would be the maximum of $26.7 million, which — unless Miami trades someone such as Goran Dragic or Josh McRoberts — would leave the Heat with under $15 million total for Wade, Whiteside and Luol Deng.

James rebounding

LeBron James is about to hit the free-agent market and stay right at home.

James declined his player option for next season with the NBA champion Cavaliers, but the finals MVP has made it clear he has no intention of leaving Cleveland anytime soon. He had until midnight Wednesday to pick up the option, which would have paid him $24 million next season.

The 31-year-old superstar has been a free agent the past three summers, electing each time to sign two-year contracts with a player option for the second season.

His agent, Rich Paul, said there is no timetable on when James will re-sign or what type of contract he’ll pursue.

Horford’s heart

Al Horford’s heart is in Atlanta.

The Hawks All-Star center becomes an unrestricted free agent. His preference is to return to Atlanta, where he has played all nine of his NBA seasons. Hawks management has also made it clear that re-signing Horford is a top priority this summer.

Now, it comes down to a contract. If the Hawks and Horford are unable to come to an agreement, there will be a long line of suitors for the versatile big man.

Slam dunks

The Trail Blazers extended qualifying offers to guard Allen Crabbe and forwards Myers Leonard and Maurice Harkless.

... The Magic extended qualifying offers to swingman Evan Fournier and center Dewayne Dedmon.

... The Hawks exercised forward-center Mike Muscala’s option for the 2016-17 season.

... The Timberwolves finalized the addition of the first Chinese minority owner in NBA history, adding Lizhang Jiang. Jiang will own 5 percent of the Timberwolves and Lynx.