According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Durant’s future with the Golden State Warriors is likely close to over. The basketball insider talked on ESPN’s “Get Up” about how the series-ending Achilles injury to the All-Star in Game 5 of the NBA Final affects his future in the Bay Area.
He stated that while the Warriors still have time to bring Durant back into the fold, “opting in is the last resort.” This refers to the final $31.5 million on his contract, which has a player option for next season.
“That’s really if (Durant) couldn’t find another team to commit to (him) on a contract,” Wojnarowski said to Mike Greenberg. “If he opts out of the contract, and even if he did a short deal with another team, a 2-year deal, that starts at $38 million.”
Watch the full clip below.
NBC Sports Tommy Beer detailed Durant’s options earlier this week.
“Durant does have a $31.5 million player option for next season. If this is the worst-case scenario, KD may [choose] to exercise that option and enter free agency in 2020. Way more questions than answers right now. Just a brutal blow for KD, who risked his prime to help his team,” Beer tweeted.
Durant’s MRI results are still in limbo. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Warriors are expecting a torn right Achilles.
What makes an Achilles injury so devastating? Chauncey Billups, who was 35 years old when his tear occurred, pointed out that it was all of the subsequent injuries that doomed his comeback. Even after his Achilles healed, there was always something wrong with his body. The injuries stemmed from his Achilles issue, but it wasn’t the tear in particular that haunted him. Imagine an Achilles injury as an initial crack in a windshield. Every little thing can make it worse, causing new issues left and right.
Kevin Durant Future with Knicks in Jeopardy
The initial reaction to the yet to be confirmed injury asked whether or not it devalues Durant’s stock on the free agent market. Wojnarowski speculated that there is still a market for a long-term deal for the 31-year old. With that said, some New York reporters are actually expressing relief that the Knicks won’t be saddled with a big contract for an aging star.
The New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro writes that it might have saved the Knicks’ future, as the attention should be on building the young core rather than importing an older player.
Perhaps it’s time to think about the Knicks’ young core as a foundation, and not merely a placeholder. Assuming they keep the No. 3 pick — and they absolutely should keep that pick — they will be getting a terrific player, likely R.J. Barrett. Dennis Smith Jr. showed you enough last year to believe he could have a D’Angelo Russell-like breakthrough with the right guidance. Mitchell Robinson is one of the two or three most intriguing young players in the league, with a ceiling nowhere close to being determined.
On the other hand, New York could nab Durant for a cheaper deal if the injury is more severe. They could spend another season building young pieces around Durant as they wait for his recovery, and set themselves up for a playoff run in 2020-21.