Despite the looming possibility of missing the entire 2019-20 NBA season, Kevin Durant is reportedly still expected to be a priority on the free-agent market.
According to done little to cool the ardor” of the teams expected to pursue him, including the David Aldridge of The Athletic, the Achilles injury Durant suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals has ” New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Golden State Warriors reportedly fear that KD suffered a torn Achilles, an injury that can take a year or more to return from. Even then, few players are close to the same after coming back.
If Durant thinks his injury will impact his earning potential, he can still opt in to his contract with the Warriors for next season at $31.5 million.
ESPN’s BrianWindhorstappeared Tuesday on First Take, however, and reported that Durant is still expected to test the market. He added thatKDis “in such demand” that even missing a full year with a torn Achilles likely won’t prevent him from landing a significant contract.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks offered a similar take on Get Up!, reporting that he spoke to three teams who still plan to pursue Durant. Marks noted thatKDis expected to get a contract in the neighborhood of $141 million over four years with no injury provisions.
After missing nine games with a calf strain, Durant showed his worth during Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors with 11 points in just 12 minutes before going down again.
Golden State went on to win 106-105 to force Game 6, but to come all the way back and three-peat, the Warriors must do it without the reigning two-time Finals MVP.
Durant will be 31 when the 2019-20 season begins, and he may not be able to contribute again until he’s 32. Still, a league executive told Aldridge: “It’s not like he’s gonna fall from the top player in the league to No. 50, even with the Achilles. Maybe he falls into the top 10. I still thinkKDis a guy that’s going to score 20, 25 a game.”
For teams like the Knicks, Nets, Clippers and Lakers, he’s still a tempting target even if he doesn’t pay dividends until 2020-21.