In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Kevin Durant will be leaving the Golden State Warriors after the 2018-19 NBA season. If the team succeeds in taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the third consecutive year, many expect Durant to start a new journey with another team and face the next big challenge of his NBA career.
The potential departure of Kevin Durant will dramatically change the NBA landscape. As long as they have the core of Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green, the Warriors will remain as a legitimate title contender in the deep Western Conference. However, without Durant, the Warriors will become vulnerable, unlike the past two seasons.
In a recent appearance on KNBR 680 (via Yahoo Sports), Warriors legend Rick Barry talked about Kevin Durant’s future in Golden State. Barry said he can’t see any reason why Durant will consider leaving the Warriors in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“My big thing is, I don’t understand why you’d want to leave a situation where you become multiple [time] champions and have a record very few teams ever approach having,” Barry said. “Why would you want to do that knowing that you don’t have to be the main guy and have all that responsibility all the time knowing that you’re going to get your times, your chances. He was [NBA Finals] MVP two times in a row. You’ve got great players on your team. To break that team up would be a shame.”
— Warriors Wire (@TheWarriorsWire) January 4, 2019
Several NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers, are expected to express strong interest in Kevin Durant when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. Each of those teams is in a position to create enough salary cap space to give Durant a maximum contract. In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Durant revealed that he will try to get as much money as he can in the 2019 NBA free agency.
That gives teams like the Lakers, Knicks, Nets, and Clippers a strong chance of signing Kevin Durant. But if money is really his main priority, staying with the Warriors is still the best option for the All-Star forward. As everyone knows, the Warriors are the only team that can offer Durant a five-year, $221.3 million contract, while the others can only give him up to four years and $164 million. Giving Durant a max contract will bury the Warriors deep in the luxury tax hell, but team owner Joe Lacob doesn’t seem to have any problem spending a huge amount of money, as long as it could help them continue winning multiple NBA championship titles.