ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski believes Kevin Durant’s player option to remain with the Golden State Warriors in 2019-20 is a “last resort” for the prospective free agent.
Appearing Wednesday on Get Up!, Wojnarowski noted Durant likely won’t opt in unless no other team is willing to take a chance on him:
Get Up @GetUpESPN
“I think opting in is the last resort.” -@wojespn on what he’s hearing about Kevin Durant’s decision next season https://t.co/7u8mZH62h3
After he missed the previous nine contests with a strained calf, KD scored 11 points in 12 minutes during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, but he suffered an Achilles injury that is feared to be a tear.
If an MRI confirms Durant’s Achilles is torn, he could miss the entire 2019-20 campaign.
If he opts in, Durant will make $31.5 million next season, but Wojnarowski noted that even a short-term deal in free agency with the Warriors or another team would allow him to make at least $38 million per year.
Early indications are that Durant shouldn’t have any problem attracting suitors, even if he is set to miss all of 2019-20.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared Tuesday on First Take and reported that Durant’s services are in such demand that the injury is not expected to negatively impact his ability to land a big contract:
Also, ESPN’s Bobby Marks said on Get Up! that he spoke to three teams, and all of them said the injury won’t prevent a Durant pursuit. Marks estimated KD could sign a contract in the neighborhood of $141 million over four years:
The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that have been linked to KD. Since there is competition for his services, that likely means at least one team will give Durant what he wants in terms of money and years.
There is risk involved in doing so, since Durant will be 32 the next time he plays a game, provided he sits out all of next season. Even so, the upside of signing a 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP may outweigh the potential negatives.
Remaining with the Warriors doesn’t seem to be off the table, but since they can pay him more than any other team, KD is more likely to leverage for a long-term deal than to settle for a one-year pact.