Even with the occasional speculation that another team, such as the Los Angeles Clippers or Brooklyn Nets, could successfully sign Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant in the 2019 offseason, many observers and experts are still expecting the two-time NBA Finals MVP to sign with the New York Knicks and help revitalize the long-struggling franchise. One of those experts is Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, who appeared on Wednesday’s edition of The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports and explained why he thinks that Durant to the Knicks is a “done” deal.
As quoted by NBC Sports Bay Area, Bucher told Cowherd that based on “everything [he’s] heard,” Durant appears to be headed to the Knicks this summer, despite having won two straight NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors and being widely expected to win a third during the 2019 postseason.
“It’s not a matter of not liking or appreciating what he has,” Bucher continued. “But being there, I can tell you that Kevin Durant has never been fully embraced by the Warriors faithful. And has never, from even a national perspective, been given the just do that you would expect for a guy who has been the NBA Finals MVP of their last two championships.”
Bucher added that despite his accomplishments in the postseason with the Warriors, Golden State will always be associated mainly with the star players whom they themselves drafted in previous years, specifically Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Durant, on the other hand, was picked second overall by the then-Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA Draft and remained with the team when they became the Oklahoma City Thunder. After winning four NBA scoring titles and one regular season MVP award with the Thunder, as noted by Basketball-Reference, Durant then joined the Warriors as a free agent in the summer of 2016, shortly after Golden State lost to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in that year’s NBA Finals.
With Kevin Durant potentially due to opt out of the final year of his current contract with the Warriors, it is also expected that he might be joined on the Knicks by another top free agent target for the summer of 2019, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. Despite this possible team-up with another longtime NBA superstar, Bucher told Cowherd that signing with the Knicks could still allow “KD” to stand out as the “centerpiece” of the franchise and as a player who could be “unbelievably” appreciated by the New York fanbase. The Bleacher Report contributor further stressed that a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals would likely be enough for Knicks fans to make Durant more “beloved” than he ever was as a Warrior.