When Kevin Durant reaches free agency in 2019, there’s a chance he could be coming off a third straight championship — and maybe even a third consecutive NBA Finals MVP award. Durant already has two of each under his belt, and remains one of the league’s very best players, on a team considered the overwhelming favorite to win the title.
Throw in the fact that Durant will have full Bird rights in 2019, giving him the opportunity to sign a five-year contract worth up to a projected $221MM, and it’s hard to imagine why he’d leave the Warriors, who would have the ability to cement their legacy as one of the NBA’s best teams of all-time as long as they keep racking up titles.
Still, Durant hasn’t committed to the Warriors at all beyond 2018/19, leading to ongoing speculation that he could jump ship at season’s end. The uncertainty surrounding the former MVP played a part in Monday’s altercation between Durant and Draymond Green, who reportedly let out his frustrations during the back-and-forth over the way his teammate has handled his upcoming free agency.
Durant’s free agency will be fascinating for a number of reasons, particularly if the Warriors win the championship again this season. It’s hard to imagine a star player who has won three consecutive titles with a team leaving his organization for a lesser contender. On the other hand, several big-market NBA franchises will have cap room for a max-salary player in 2019, creating some tantalizing possibilities for Durant, who may be ready for a new challenge.
If he’s interested in teaming up with LeBron James and trying to win titles for the league’s most iconic franchise, the Lakers could be appealing. Their Los Angeles rivals, the Clippers, are being run by a effective management team that includes owner Steve Ballmer and veteran executive Jerry West, and would provide Durant an opportunity to be the unquestioned star of an L.A. franchise. The Knicks will have Kristaps Porzingis back, and the idea of playing in Madison Square Garden and turning around a moribund franchise may intrigue Durant and Rich Kleiman, his agent and business partner, who grew up as a Knicks fan.
Several other teams around the NBA will also have cap space in 2019, creating a plethora of viable options for Durant, depending on what his priorities are. Of course, he initially chose the Warriors because he wanted to win and because he wanted to live in the Bay Area, and those factors still arguably make Golden State his best option — especially with the team set to move into its new San Francisco arena next season.
What do you think? Is this Durant’s last season with the Warriors or will he still be playing for the Dubs next season at this time? Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your two cents.
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