Following the Golden State Warriors’ bittersweet 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Warriors general manager Bob Myers held an emotional press conference, where he confirmed that Kevin Durant — who exited the game early in the second quarter — did not aggravate the strained calf that kept him out of action for a month, as initially reported. Instead, the superstar forward apparently suffered a separate Achilles injury — one that might affect also his prospects in the lead-up to the 2019 NBA offseason, as a new report suggests.
According to a report from MassLive, Durant’s injury doesn’t just represent something that could change his career trajectory going forward, as it’s an unexpected event that could alter his path in free agency. The publication’s John Karalis predicted that Durant — who has long been rumored to be opting out of the final year of his contract to join another team in free agency — might have no choice but to take advantage of his player option and remain in Golden State for the 2019-20 NBA season.
“It’s hard to imagine a team giving Durant a lot of money to sit out a year and have questions about how good he’ll be whenever he returns,” Karalis wrote.
“Staying with the Warriors might be his only choice.”
As further forecasted, Durant suffering from an Achilles injury could also have an impact on the free agency decisions of the players who may have wanted to leave their current teams to sign with the same organization as the two-time Finals MVP. Karalis speculated that Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving — who had been linked to Durant in countless free agency rumors — might instead opt to sign with the team that’s able to trade for New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. He added that Durant’s injury could raise a number of other new questions, especially if he decided to remain with Golden State in hopes of making himself more valuable to other teams once his contract expires.
Warriors GM Bob Myers says Kevin Durant has an Achilles injury and will have an MRI tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/MUTZQAVOYu— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 11, 2019
As reported by Sports Illustrated, Warriors GM Myers, who was described as “[choking] back tears” as he made the announcement of Durant’s Achilles injury during the post-Game 5 press conference, added that the forward will be undergoing an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the new injury.
“The initial injury was a calf injury. This is not a calf injury,” Myers said, as quoted by The Mercury News.
“I’m not a doctor, I don’t know how those are related or not, but it’s a different injury.”
Given that Durant had missed the entire Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as the first four games of the Finals, Myers stressed that it was a “collaborative” decision for the Warriors to clear the two-time NBA Finals MVP to play Game 5. While he added that he believes no one is at fault for the injury, Myers told reporters that he’s willing to take the blame if people are looking for a scapegoat.