Just because Kevin Durant isn’t worried about 2019 NBA free agency doesn’t mean NBA fans shouldn’t have it on their radar. The future of the Golden State Warriors star has been a talking point since very early in the 2018-19 season, and it heated up throughout the year. While the Warriors are locked in on the playoffs and their push to make another NBA Finals run, Durant’s status remains unknown.
While the star forward has found major success in the Bay Area, the links to a variety of teams have kept NBA fans on high alert. We’re going to take a look at the teams who make the most sense for Durant if he were to leave the Warriors in free agency, which in the eyes of some, is a very realistic outcome.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have been the top pick for Durant’s future since the chatter around upcoming free agency began. It’s unlikely to change either, as the team freed up money to bring in two potential max players, and Durant could look to turn around one of the most storied franchises in the NBA.
Beyond that, the 30-year-old would essentially have the keys to the franchise. If he made the move early enough, there’s a good chance the front office would even work with him to find the right star to pair up in the Big Apple. For those making early predictions on Durant’s future, the Knicks are by far the most popular choice.
While Durant may not want to talk about it, Knicks fans will likely be locked in on the idea of the forward playing in Madison Square Garden for the foreseeable future.
Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State drew the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs and it’s been quite the series to start. But The Athletic’s Jovan Buha summed that situation up best by pointing out that the Clippers are fully expected to compete with the Warriors for Durant this offseason as well.
And there is the underlying dynamic of this series. The Clippers aren’t just competing with the Warriors to win four games; they’re competing with them — and possibly a few other teams — for Durant’s services this offseason. If the Clippers can’t beat the Warriors now, they want a shot at them next season.
The Clippers can potentially set themselves up to make a run at two max free agents, similar to the expected approach by the Knicks. This would create the opportunity to recruit Durant and whichever star they see as the right fit. It could be Kyrie Irving, who some have linked with Durant as a top pairing in New York, or someone like Kawhi Leonard potentially.
It’s also worth noting that as Bleacher Report cited back in 2016, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said his team was in Durant’s top three in free agency. While that was years ago, there’s no question that Los Angeles has plenty of appeal for any free agent and that certainly includes the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player.
Other teams to watch: Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers (less likely)