Despite likely losing DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the postseason after he tore his quad in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Golden State Warriors are still seen by many as a favorite to win their third straight NBA championship this season. But even if the Warriors do win it all once again in this year’s NBA Finals, that might not be enough to change Kevin Durant’s mind, as far as entering free agency is concerned.
On Wednesday, Bleacher Report quoted a report from The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, which said that “most people” in the NBA are predicting that Durant won’t re-sign with the Warriors “no matter what happens” in the postseason. As further noted by Kawakami, Golden State entered this year’s playoffs with the mindset that there will be “[no] hard feelings” if the 30-year-old forward does become a free agent, though it’s not clear if this sentiment is shared by the rest of the team.
“It’s the tacit bargain that I believe the Warriors’ headliners all made—hang together to give their shot for a three-peat and then if Durant leaves, he leaves with no apologies necessary. But there’s inherent tension in that, too, of course.”
The new report adds even more fuel to the long-standing rumors that Kevin Durant will be declining his contract option this summer and officially becoming an unrestricted free agent. Most of these rumors have brought up the New York Knicks as Durant’s most likely destination this summer, though as The Inquisitr reported last week, The Athletic’s Frank Isola wrote that the odds of Durant joining the Knicks are dependent on whether they could sign a second top-tier free agent.
Per NBC Sports, Isola’s report was one of several that suggested Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving could be the second superstar free agent set to join Durant in New York. It was also noted, however, that Durant and Irving are “debating” on who will be the first to sign with the Knicks.
“Why is that important? The player that is signed second is viewed as the follower, not the leader,” Isola wrote, as quoted by NBC Sports.
Meanwhile, the top-seeded Golden State Warriors are currently tied 1-1 against the No. 8 Clippers, having lost Game 2 on Monday after losing Cousins and blowing a 31-point lead. While OddsShark wrote on Wednesday that the Warriors are still the top favorite to win the 2019 NBA championship, Bleacher Report pointed out that the team still has a few other potential “roadblocks” to deal with if they beat the Clippers, including the Houston Rockets, who took Golden State to seven games in last year’s Western Conference Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors were also mentioned as likely threats, due to the fact they both finished with better regular-season records than the Warriors.