Upon Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers' announcement that Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury during Monday's Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, speculation ran rife that the superstar forward might choose to opt into the final year of his contract, due to the possibility of his injury being serious enough to compromise his market value in free agency. However, it appears that there are several NBA teams that are still expected to make offers to Durant this summer, even if it means having him on the sidelines for as long as one entire season.
In a report that quoted an article from The Athletic's David Aldridge, Silver Screen and Roll wrote on Tuesday that some of the teams expected to make big moves in the 2019 offseason could be in play for Durant, with the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers all expected to chase the two-time Finals MVP if he opts out of his contract. While the first three teams have frequently been linked to "KD" in previous rumors, the Lakers have seldom been mentioned as one of the 30-year-old star's top suitors as of late.
"League sources Tuesday made it plain," Aldridge wrote.
"Durant's injury, whether short-term or longer, has done little to cool the ardor of his most dogged free agent pursuers. The likelihood remains that all of the New York/L.A. teams will stay in the hunt for Durant beginning on the afternoon of June 30."Further quoting Aldridge's report, RealGM wrote that a league executive believes that Durant will likely "[fall] into the top 10" due to his injury, and would still be a player who could average 20 to 25 points per game once he recovers from his injury. Commenting on Durant's expected recovery timeline, Silver Screen and Roll wrote that it seems likely that he will miss "basically all of next season" with his apparent Achilles injury. The outlet added that it would be particularly interesting if the Lakers end up signing Durant, given LeBron James' presence as the team's top player and the possibility of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis joining this summer via trade. However, it was also noted that the Lakers won't be enough salary cap space to sign Durant to a maximum contract in the event they are able to successfully trade for Davis.
Meanwhile, Durant will definitely be sitting out Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Thursday, as the Warriors return to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, and host the Toronto Raptors, who currently hold a 3-2 lead over Golden State.