Durant, Kawhi Reportedly Discussing Playing Together

With free agency set to open on Sunday, the top two available players, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, have discussed scenarios in which they could play together, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

As Wojnarowski notes, if the two stars decide they want to team up, the two likeliest possibilities would be the Knicks or Clippers. The Knicks have the cap room necessary to offer both players maximum-salary contracts. The Clippers would have to do a little work to get there, but have a path if they can find a taker for Danilo Gallinari‘s expiring $22.6MM contract.

The Nets, Lakers, Warriors, and Raptors are among the other teams believed to be in pursuit of either Leonard or Durant. However, Golden State and Toronto could only re-sign their own respective stars, the Lakers only have room to sign one top free agent, and the Nets are believed to be zeroed in on Kyrie Irving, which would leave them with enough cap space for just one additional star.

Before Durant went down with a calf injury – and then an Achilles tear – in this year’s playoffs, he and Leonard were being discussed as the NBA’s top two players. Although KD is expected to miss the entire 2019/20 season as he recovers from his Achilles injury, a long-term pairing of Durant and Leonard could turn any franchise into a perennial championship contender.

ESPN’s report represents the second time today we’ve heard about the possibility of Durant and Leonard teaming up. Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote earlier this morning of a belief that KD had considered the possibility of joining forces with Kawhi, though Charania’s report gave no indication of how Leonard felt about the idea.

As we detailed this morning, Leonard’s free agency had long been viewed as a two-way race between the Raptors and Clippers, but that’s no longer the case, with the Lakers and Knicks both trying to get into the mix. Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote today about the pitch that LeBron James intends to make to Kawhi.

Many scenarios appear to remain in play for this summer’s top free agents. According to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, Leonard is expected to meet with the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Raptors once free agency opens, while Durant plans to talk to the Clippers, Knicks, Nets, and Warriors.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

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27 thoughts on “Durant, Kawhi Reportedly Discussing Playing Together

  1. arc89

    So the article states IF they decide to team up. So other words its a article to make people think that is what they want to do. Nobody knows what they will do and even right now neither of the 2 players know where they are going.

    • justinept

      The article is citing a Woj piece, though. While I admittedly havent clicked the link to the original report to see if it is being accurately represented, the fact that this is coming from Woj gives it a lot more credibility.

  2. shawn hemp

    Suleymanov way to take something woj “reported” and make a article out of it quick. Kudos to you bud

  3. Reflect

    Well I really doubt Durant goes to Canada so this seems like R.I.P. Raptors.

    • Seems doubtful but would make quite the story if he tried. Would mean Durant signs for minimum salary for one year, which seems impossible if teams are offering him max salary through the year he has to miss.

      He’d have to be very committed to take a minimum contact to resign for the max the following year, but they would have quite the team to win.

  4. clubberlang

    I think Top Tier FAs would be more interested in playing with KD/KL over LeBron at this point. They are both younger and in there primes. How many seasons of elite top 5 talent does James have left? 2-3?

  5. AGAVE

    Kawhi thinks of possible championships in LA for short term then continues on to play with Durant as he builds a team for him to meet up with after.

    In their minds, how many championships can they obtain before retiring.

    Goal = RING totals

  6. brian_james

    So if these headlines are to be believed, Kawhi is planning on playing for the Raptors, Lakers, and Clippers at the same time

    • He’s also joining the farm team for the Braves to give him something to pursue next summer and he will try out for the Seahawks soon too, following his latest golf lessons and before his first pro tennis tournament.

      • Wait, I wonder if he owns a custom baseball glove and what size it would be?

  7. goldenmisfit

    We have heard many times two star players allegedly talking about playing together and it never ever happens. I don’t see this happening either just like we heard a couple years ago about Irving and Butler and now looks like that’s not going to happen. I have heard from insiders that many people believe it is a real possibility of Durrant going to Brooklyn but that is not one of the teams that Leonard is talking to. I believe when the dust settles they will both have signed with different teams.

  8. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    I H8 the free agency ways of the NBA
    It’s a bunch of baloney, you get a draft pick or two and then you build a ‘Super’ Team

    No loyalty, no rivalries, I miss the Hatfield and McCoy days of Stockton to Malone vs Jordan and his merry minions!

    Blah to all of this!

    • 4Quarters

      Lack of rivalries has more to do with AAU & travel ball activities in current players’ youth. Lots of friendships form before young kids collectively realize their dreams. That sort of commonality in circumstance is powerful.

      Those bonds form more friendly “rivalries” than the old school “I’m tired of looking at your face. I’m takin you down. Let’s go!!” mindset.

  9. C-Daddy

    It seems that every few hours there’s a new rumour about what Kawhi is going to do. We’ll find out what is going to happen tomorrow – until then this is all baseless speculation.

  10. hiflew

    Something needs to be done about this NBAAU mentality. Even if it is something like a hard cap for everyone. Meaning teams like the Lakers (or any other team, not singling them out) can get three max salary guys, but they could only fill the rest of their roster with the rest of their cap space. And if they don’t have enough room under the cap, they wouldn’t get to use those roster spots.

    Otherwise we have a league with 4-6 super teams and 24-26 teams where fans have to ask, why am I watching this again?

  11. None of this is new. How many marquee free agents weren’t in the news to be going to team up with so and so, and signing with multiple teams?

    Some stupid free agents played the hype to find out what television ratings they could get out of their Decision. The lesson learned there, as it should be here, is that there will be a lot of people disappointed that their guesses and assumptions and predictions and hearsay turned out to be a lot of horse dung.

  12. If I were the Warriors I’d be looking to see how I could team Kawhi with the Splash Bros. For me, Kawhi > Draymond + injured KD.

  13. 4thinfsgt

    They’ll be playing alright: for the Olympic team next year. Unless, of course KD’s injury prevents him from playing.

  14. Norm Chouinard

    Anything is possible but if this is anything more than smoke and mirrors, I’d be surprised. I get why a team might want to gamble on a long term KD deal, but why would Kawhi wait through KD’s rehab and risk his prime years on KD’s recovery. More likely just 2 friends talking.

  15. This could be about 2020-21, if KL takes a 1/1 somewhere, and Durant goes to the Clips or the Knicks this year.

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