Superstar Kevin Durant is about to become a free agent this summer. There have been growing rumors that Durant will leave the Golden State Warriors. The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets are all reportedly interested in Durant.
Speculation that Durant may move to the Knicks has been building for some time. Many have felt that Durant would prize the role of star player on a team that is rebuilding. The Knicks trade of Kristaps Porzingis and the money that will free up has only increased this speculation. Many also believe that Durant can’t showcase his full potential while playing on the Warriors with Steph Curry. A move to the Knicks would allow Durant to prove that he can win championships on his own. The Knicks have missed the playoffs 12 of the last 17 years and could certainly use Durant’s talent.
Recently, the Clippers have emerged as another contender for Durant’s talent. Durant’s close friend, former NBA player Kendrick Perkins, pointed out that Durant likes both the Clippers organization and head coach Doc Rivers. The New York Times has also called the Clippers “an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State.” Yet others question if Durant would fit in with the Clippers mentality and style of play. Durant’s manager, Rich Kleiman, has said that Durant is still 100 percent undecided where he will play next.
The Nets have made some trades and freed up $46 million in cap space. The team has had disappointing attendance and ratings and could use the star power that Durant would bring. Sources say that Durant would also like to play alongside Net Caris LeVert who he has been something of a big brother to in the past.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob has said the team plans to re-sign Durant. If he stays with the Warriors, Durant could receive a five year contract worth $220 million. It is believed he would get approximately $164 million for a four year contract with any other team. As the NBA Finals progress and the Warriors struggle, Durant’s value to the franchise has become clearer than ever. Most recently, insiders have said that Durant will leave the Warriors if they win the NBA Finals but stay if the team loses.
However, Durant has a history of being unpredictable and basing his choices on more than just money. In 2007, as a new NBA player, he signed a $60 million endorsement deal with Nike. He had been offered $70 million from Adidas but he turned them down since he had faithfully worn Nike since childhood. In 2016 he made another surprising choice when he left the Oklahoma Thunder to join the Warriors. He passed on a $153 million 5 year contract with the Thunder to accept $54.3 million from the Warriors for a two year contract. He based that decision on what he deemed his potential for growth as both a player and as a man. These unpredictable choices make it difficult to foretell what Durant will do next.
Free agency recruitment begins on June 30. On that date at 6pm players will be free to meet with teams and discuss potential contracts. As the date approaches and rumors swirl, the media scrutiny of Durant has only increased. However, it won’t end on June 30. A negotiation period will follow and while verbal agreements can be made, most contracts can’t be signed until July 6. Stay tuned to see where Kevin Durant lands.