From the end of May to early this June, the NBA decided which of its two Conference champions would be the top team of the league for the 2018-19 Season. The defending champions the Golden State Warriors came into the Finals with one of its top players sidelined by injury: Kevin Durant. Against the first-time Finalists the Toronto Raptors Golden State received a heavy pounding, winning one game with several more players getting injured and winning a second time with Durant playing until a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Raptors would win the NBA Championship for the first time, while a recovering Durant has decided not to stick with the Warriors.
ESPN has it that Kevin Durant has determined that he will go next season as an unrestricted free agent in the NBA, following his declining of a player option with the Golden State Warriors amounting to $31.5 million. This decision was forwarded to Golden State general manager Bob Myers by Durant’s business manager Rich Kleiman. He and Durant have been busy trying to chart what the latter will do next upon entering unrestricted free agency in the league. So far, possible options have being signing up with the New York Knicks, LA, Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and even returning to the Warriors under a new arrangement.
While the above-mentioned teams will only be all too eager at a chance to put Durant in their roster, there is also the consideration of the fact that the ace player is still nursing his injuries sustained from the lead-up to the NBA Finals and the Finals Game 5 itself. It is certain however that Durant will be offered max contract by whichever team can garner his interest, to the tune of $164 million. On the other hand, Golden State can vie to retain him by offering $221 million that will last for five years.
It is only understandable that the Warriors use every means to keep Kevin Durant on side. After he joined them during the 2016-17 NBA Season, the former Seattle Supersonic/Oklahoma City Thunder (2007-16) has been a major architect in Golden State winning two consecutive NBA titles from 2016-17 to 2017-18. He himself was made MVP both times. The team was in good shape to make the mythical NBA Championship three-peat in the recently-concluded season, only to be frustrated by the Raptors.
Even as Durant and Rich Kleiman continue to iron out the NBA superstar’s free agent future, they are also taking into consideration that he might need to dial down for the 2019-20 Season in order to better rehabilitate his injury.
Image from San Francisco Chronicle