Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and is expected to miss all of next season. Klay Thompson suffered a torn ACL in Game 6 and is likely to miss a significant part of next season as well.
Both players are free agents. According to one new report, their team, the Golden State Warriors, plans to offer them both maximum contracts, despite the possibility that neither will play in the 2019-’20 season.
Reporter Brian Windhorst said on ESPN, per a tweet by reporter Ryan Glasspiel Thursday, that “it is my understanding, from talking to people in the Warriors’ organization, that their intention is to continue and offer Kevin Durant a five-year max contract, and to offer Klay [Thompson] a five-year max contract.”
Windhorst added that the Warriors will likely call Thompson first, when the free agent signing period opens on June 30.
Those deals would likely push the Warriors’ payroll over $350 million for next season due to luxury tax penalties, giving them what would go down as the largest single-season team payroll in NBA history. The team, however, will get an influx of new revenue this fall when they move into the Chase Center, the Warriors’ new arena in San Francisco.
Three years ago Draymond Green texted Kevin Durant after the Warriors lost Game 7 of the Finals. This time, Kevin Durant called Klay Thompson https://t.co/aEl851kIjn
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 14, 2019
While most league observers expect Thompson to remain with the Warriors, Durant is seen as more likely to leave for a team such as the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets. If they kept both players on max deals, the Warriors would be betting on their ability to win with a core centered around Steph Curry and Draymond Green next season and on Durant and Thompson returning to form in future seasons, once they recover from their injuries.
Thompson injured his knee Thursday night in Game 6 of the Finals during the third quarter of what was the final game played at Oracle Arena in Oakland. After the injury, Thompson was helped to the tunnel but then turned around, returned to the court, and made two free throws to give the Warriors a five-point lead before leaving the game for good. The Raptors won the game, 114-110, to win the series four games to two for the first championship in franchise history, per ESPN.
“But it’s just — the way it’s gone, I don’t know if it’s related to five straight seasons of playing 100-plus games and just all the wear and tear, but it’s devastating,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.