It was almost immediately after Kevin Durant announced he had undergone successful surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon that the conspiracy theories started.
The Golden State Warriors star only played a handful of minutes in Game 5 of the NBA Finals before he lunged forward and went down awkwardly. After spending several weeks rehabbing from a nagging calf injury, Durant had suffered something much more serious --- a torn Achilles that could keep him out up to a year.
As the New York Post noted, Durant wasted no time in undergoing surgery with noted physician Dr. Martin O'Malley, who he has worked with before and who has experience with a number of other NBA players. But the fact that O'Malley is the team physician for the Brooklyn Nets and had previously served on the staff of the New York Knicks drew plenty of interest, fueling the rumors that Durant is planning to bolt the Warriors this offseason to join the Nets or the Knicks.
But orthopedic surgeon Andrew Brief said there's nothing to those rumors. He told the New York Post that Durant had already been working with O'Malley, who performed Durant's 2015 foot surgery. There was no conspiracy in Durant coming back for the Achilles procedure, Brief said.
"I mean, O'Malley operated on him before [2015 foot surgery]," Brief said. "He's a repeat customer. That was the way it was going to go the moment it happened."
The questions of Kevin Durant's future have been swirling for months, at times overshadowing the Golden State Warriors run to the team's fifth consecutive NBA Finals. Durant's recent injury and the prospect that he could miss most or even all of the 2019-20 season has added a new wrinkle, with the USA Today exploring just what the injury could mean for the entire NBA landscape.The report speculated that it may not change the Knicks overall pursuit of Durant, as the team has stressed that it is in a long-term rebuild. Durant's availability for the upcoming season would likely not alter those plans, though it could affect whether the Knicks go after Durant this year or wait another season, the report noted.
"The Knicks would be still willing to sign him to a four-year deal this summer," the report claimed. "Or, if Durant decides to finish out the remaining year of his deal with the Warriors, the Knicks could pursue him in free agency a year from now."