As the Golden State Warriors will make their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, much of the attention has been on Kevin Durant.
With the Warriors sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals without Durant due to a calf strain injury, there have been multiple reports linking him to the New York Knicks.
While Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have shown they are more than capable of still contending, the reality is they need Durant if they want to cement themselves as one of the greatest dynasties.
Although Durant has personally avoided these type of questions throughout the 2018-19 NBA season, his manager addressed the current situation heading into July 1, via Wall Street Journal Sports:
Kevin Durant is “100 percent undecided” on where he’s playing next, his manager @RichKleiman says at The #WSJFuture Of Everything Festival. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.” pic.twitter.com/1fEw2kYZqm
— WSJ Sports (@WSJSports) May 21, 2019
However, some believe the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a ‘dangerous’ threat to the Knicks if Durant does not re-sign with the Warriors, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:
Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.
As the speculation will naturally continue, Durant is focused on returning from an injury he suffered in Game 6 of the conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. With head coach Steve Kerr revealing Durant’s injury is ‘more serious than we thought,’ the Warriors do need him against Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA Finals.
With an opportunity to win three championships in as many seasons, Durant re-signing with the Warriors seems like a no-brainer. However, the 30-year-old has been heavily criticized for joining the 73-9 Warriors and may want a new challenge at this stage of his career.
As for the Los Angeles Lakers, it is well known they have a max-contract slot to pair LeBron James with another All-Star player. While No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft makes Los Angeles a more attractive destination, it remains to be seen how former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s comments impact their offseason.
With Johnson identifying general manager Rob Pelinka as the ‘backstabber,’ there are conflicting reports about his reputation around the league. Fortunately for the Lakers, they should get a better idea of Pelinka with him running the team’s front office moving forward.