Over the past few days, things have reportedly been tense between Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. This has led to numerous rumors suggesting that Durant might opt out of the final year of his contract and sign with another team in the 2019-20 NBA season. While the Los Angeles Lakers have once again been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Durant, a new report from Sports Illustrated suggests that “KD” wearing the purple and gold next season could be the least likely out of several possible outcomes of the alleged drama between Durant and Green.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp, the most likely scenario would have the Warriors moving on from their current issues and remaining the favorites to win a third straight NBA championship in the 2019 Finals. Although Durant and Green’s disagreement over a botched final play during the Warriors’ 121-116 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday got a lot of coverage from the media, Sharp wrote that the Warriors were dealing with similar tensions in the 2017-18 season, and still have the most talented roster in the NBA.
“If Steph Curry is healthy by May and June, it would be insane to bet against them,” Sharp predicted.
Talking about other possibilities for the Warriors going forward, Sharp wrote that Kevin Durant signing with the New York Knicks in the summer of 2019 is “amazingly” the second most likely thing that could happen as a result of the Durant vs. Green “feud.” He also opined that it wouldn’t be inconceivable for the Warriors to trade Green instead, or for Durant to sign with the Clippers, whose owner, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, “will spend whatever it takes to win.”
On the other hand, Sharp was less optimistic about the chances of Durant joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019 free agency period, calling it the “least plausible” scenario out of the five he mentioned.
“If Durant is leaving the Warriors because he wants to go somewhere that allows him to win on his own terms, why would he join LeBron James?”
Sharp, however, admitted that the prospect of Durant becoming a Laker could be “entertaining” if it happens, as it could result in the Warriors reviving their rivalry against James, and Durant stepping and playing the “savior” role if the Lakers end up missing the 2018 playoffs despite James’ presence.
Although Sharp was doubtful that Durant would want to sign with the Lakers next summer, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently hinted at the exact opposite, according to Bleacher Report. The publication quoted Smith’s comments on Wednesday, where he said on his eponymous podcast that per his sources, the Lakers now “have the edge” over the New York Knicks. Still, Smith stressed that people connected to the Warriors also told him that they remain confident Durant will remain in Golden State.
Meanwhile, other reports have suggested that some of Kevin Durant’s teammates are now expecting him to leave the Golden State Warriors at the end of the 2018-19 season. Bleacher Report also cited The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II, who said that these teammates “have made it clear privately they aren’t on board for another Please-Stay-KD tour.”