Although the Los Angeles Lakers are currently preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, all of the attention naturally remains on 2019 NBA free agency on June 30.
Heading into the most important offseason in team history, the Lakers have the No. 4 pick and a max contract slot.
While the ideal situation is to sign a free agent, it appears Los Angeles may have to trade for a second All-Star player.
Despite Kevin Durant suffering an Achilles injury, the Lakers are among teams still expected to offer him a max contract on June 30, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic:
League sources Tuesday made it plain: Durant’s injury, whether short-term or longer, has done little to cool the ardor of his most dogged free agent pursuers. The likelihood remains that all of the New York/L.A. teams will stay in the hunt for Durant beginning on the afternoon of June 30.
Prior to the 2019 NBA playoffs, Durant was not expected to re-sign with the Golden State Warriors regardless of the result, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic:
Most people in the NBA don’t expect Durant to re-sign with the Warriors no matter what happens in the playoffs. It’s the tacit bargain that I believe the Warriors’ headliners all made — hang together to give their shot for a three-peat and then if Durant leaves, he leaves with no apologies necessary. But there’s inherent tension in that, too, of course.
After not playing since May 8 due to a calf injury, Durant returned against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. As Durant had 11 points in 11 minutes, he then suffered an Achilles injury in the second quarter.
With the Warriors reportedly fearing Durant suffered a torn Achilles, he could miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season. As a result, there have been discussions about if he will exercise his player option or still opt out as initially expected.
Although it would not fit LeBron James’ timeline, Durant is one of the best players in the league right now. While it is a devastating injury for most professional athletes, Durant is only 30-years-old and should be able to adjust his game.
As this will already be an interesting offseason, Durant’s injury could certainly change the landscape of the NBA.