Could Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant surprise league observers and sign with the Los Angeles Clippers after months of rumors primarily linking him to the New York Knicks? Granted, the Clippers have often been mentioned among the potential free agency destinations for the 10-time All-Star, but a new report suggests that the chances of Durant signing with the team this summer may be greater than what most are expecting.
In a report published on Tuesday, Marc Stein of The New York Times prefaced his latest update on Durant by saying that many of the predictions about the Warriors superstar’s free agency plans in the lead-up to the 2019 offseason are “ill-advised.” He then cited his”very smart and plugged-in” sources, saying that the Clippers have, within the last month, become an “equally dangerous threat” to the Knicks as Durant’s top suitor.
“Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York,” Stein continued.
Despite hinting that the Clippers could be on fairly equal footing with the Knicks as the leading candidate to lure Kevin Durant away from the Golden State Warriors, Stein added the only people who may truly know Durant’s exact plans for the summer of 2019 are the Warriors forward himself, as well as his business manager, Rich Kleiman.
According to Bleacher Report, Durant will be able to enter free agency this summer if he declines the player option on his current contract with the Warriors, which will pay him $31.5 million in the 2019-20 season if he remains with the team. Should he decline this option, there are a number of teams that will have more than enough salary cap space to afford the 30-year-old forward, including the Knicks, Clippers, and Brooklyn Nets. As the outlet noted, these three teams also have the advantage of being located in major markets.
Speculating on Durant’s thought process as he heads into the offseason, Bleacher Report added that he’s likely to consider how these three teams are “set up for success,” which would make the Clippers and the Nets the top favorites by virtue of their recent trips to the playoffs. The Knicks, despite the plethora of rumors linking them to Durant, finished the 2018-19 season with a 17-65 win-loss record and have missed the postseason for six consecutive years.