O’Connor’s Latest: Durant, Clippers, Kawhi, Gallinari

As we’ve mentioned multiple times throughout the 2018/19 NBA league year, there’s a widespread belief among people around the NBA that Kevin Durant will leave the Warriors for the Knicks in free agency. However, uncertainty about Durant’s future has increased in recent months, Kevin O’Connor writes in his latest article for The Ringer.

As O’Connor explains, Durant seems more likely to go to the Knicks if Kyrie Irving goes with him, and there’s no guarantee that Irving will leave the Celtics, given how well things have gone in Boston over the last several weeks. LeBron James‘ struggles during his first year as a Laker could also serve as a cautionary tale for Durant.

One front office executive who spoke to O’Connor suggests that everything should be considered on the table for Durant, since the Warriors forward has proven to be unpredictable in the past.

O’Connor’s piece, which focuses primarily on the Clippers, features a few more items of note, so let’s round them up…

  • The Clippers continue to be viewed as the more likely destination than the Lakers if Kawhi Leonard decides to return home to Southern California, though O’Connor writes that it would be “foolish” to rule out the Lakers.
  • The odds of both Durant and Leonard joining the Clippers are slim, but the team could theoretically make it happen based on its cap situation. As O’Connor details, if the Clippers trade Danilo Gallinari and renounce all their free agents except Ivica Zubac, they’d have more than enough room for two max contracts, and would be able to go over the cap to re-sign Zubac.
  • Of course, in that scenario, the Clippers wouldn’t be able to take money back for Gallinari, which would limit their potential trade partners. Still, O’Connor has spoken to front office executives who don’t think it’d be too challenging to find a deal for Gallinari, especially if the Clips are willing to attach a future pick. O’Connor cites the Nets, Mavericks, Hawks, Jazz, and Pacers as a few teams that might be fits for the veteran forward in that scenario.
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14 thoughts on “O’Connor’s Latest: Durant, Clippers, Kawhi, Gallinari

    • No one is taking his contact unless they’re getting multiple first rounders. Clippers will be towards the end of the round, and given his history of injuries and expensive contact, no one is lining up unless there multiple picks tagged with him.

      • kenleyfornia2

        What? Danilo is a very solid player on an expiring contract. It wont take multiple 1st rounders tied to him. Heck it might not even take 1

      • x%sure

        Gallinari’s contract only lasts another year and he had a PER of 21 in 68 games this past year. Also after July 1 a lot of teams will have capspace and I must add, he’s white. He should by quite movable.

        I think the Nets would prefer Mirotic or Looney though, or, ironically, Portis. Someone that can help Jarret Allen. The Hawks & Jazz are the most likely of those.

      • Or they could simply sign and trade with the Warriors for Durant. Durant gets his maximum, the Clippers don’t have to use picks to clear cap space and the Warriors get an asset they would never have been able to get if Durant just signs elsewhere.

  1. I’d say Leonard to the Clippers is 99% likely to happen. Clippers will want him over anyone else considering he’s someone who wants to go there – his home base nonetheless. And with the Clippers playing the way they are and the depth they have, why wouldn’t he want to go there. It’s pretty much a win-win.

    • reneaguerra

      You’re obviously not an LA basketball fan, “his home base”? The clippers? 99% of the people in LA couldn’t name any clipper past or present.

  2. halofanatic

    Durant and Kemba will be Knicks. Kyrie will be a Laker.

    Knicks will get the opportunity to draft Zion. AD won’t sign an extension with any team other than the Lakers, so he’ll be traded for Ingram, Zuzma, Ball and the Lakers first round pick.

    Cousins and Butler will be Clippers.

    • Equinsu Ocha

      wow that’s leaving out Leonard entirely. maybe Kawhi and Butler to the Clips?

  3. Yes way, if the Raptors make it to the Finals (win or lose), they have a real shot at retaining Leonard. Keep in mind how many times Kawhi has complimented how the Raps training staff has handled his health and workload. From a competitive standpoint, pretty hard to beat playing for the team with the second best record in the L.

    If they bow out to Philly though, start backing up the U-Haul to move him and other pieces out of town.

    As for Nillo, big expiring deal with a future first attached shouldn’t make him that hard to move. There are so many teams with cap space this year that someone is going to strikeout in the FA market. If that team, let’s use Indy as an example, let Thad walk and don’t land Kemba, taking on a one year contract and a pick to replace the departed Young works.

    • Sorry dude, I can’t ever see Toronto in the Finals, no difference if Kawhi stays or goes.

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