With the pairings for this year’s NBA conference finals all set, Kevin Durant will be suiting up for the Golden State Warriors as they face the Portland Trail Blazers for a chance to return to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season. But even if Durant ends up leading the Warriors to a third straight championship next month, most experts and NBA observers are still expecting him to sign with the New York Knicks, with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving also likely to decline his player option and become a Knick via free agency.
While recent rumors have hinted that there are other teams that have a realistic chance at signing both superstar free agents, a tweet from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claims that there’s a very good chance Durant and Irving are indeed New York-bound. On Saturday, Smith shared that based on “everything [he’s] heard,” there’s a “95 percent chance” that the two will leave their respective teams and sign with the Knicks. He did add, however, that there is one small caveat that could come into play once the NBA’s offseason begins in July.
“Only potential hiccup is KD changing his mind,” Smith said.
Interestingly, Smith’s latest comments about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving having a 95 percent chance of signing with the Knicks came a few weeks after he made a completely different prediction for Durant and another top prospective free agent, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard. As reported in April by The Inquisitr, Smith said at that time that there was a “better than 50/50 chance” of Leonard and Durant joining the Los Angeles Clippers. As noted recently by L.A. Sports Hub, the Clippers, much like the Knicks, have enough salary cap space to “realistically” sign two superstar free agents this summer.
As for the possibility of Durant changing his mind ahead of his eventual free agency decision, Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote on Friday that there has been a “recent sense in Warriors circles” suggesting that the All-Star small forward might choose to remain in Golden State after all.
“[T]his recent stretch of domination and fan appreciation might be the kind of thing that convinces him to – cue LeBron James’ personal motto that hasn’t exactly panned out in Laker Land – RWTW (Roll With The Winners),” Amick wrote, as quoted by NBC Sports Bay Area.
Meanwhile, Irving has remained noncommittal about his plans for the summer of 2019. While the Knicks remain among the top two favorites to sign him in the offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Saturday that the erstwhile Celtics point guard has had “discussions with people” about a potential move to the Los Angeles Lakers, per Yahoo Sports.