Will this be Kevin Durant’s final season by the Bay?
The Golden State Warriors forward signed a one-and-one contract to remain with the Dubs this offseason, but rumors have swirled around his potential exit next offseason, with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers being floated as potential destinations for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Golden State is a juggernaut that is primed to win its fourth NBA title in five seasons should the team stay healthy, but the Death Star in the Bay Area apparently is concerned that this could be the last ride for the Big Four.
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II reported Wednesday, citing sources, that the Warriors are at least preparing for Durant to leave the franchise next offseason.
“I’ve talked to people in the franchise about this,” Thompson writes. “Not for this piece but just through various conversations. Some I’ve sought out, some have sought out me. All of them have the same kind of undercurrent: we hope he stays, but wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves.
“The same franchise that was willing to dump everything to get him is now unofficially bracing for his departure. There is a vibe. There is a sense of “this is possible so let’s be mentally ready.” Of course, that makes sense. Who wants to get their hopes up to be crushed? But the hunches and guesses that Durant might leave seem stronger now than they’ve ever been.”
All of that makes sense.
Should the Warriors three-peat this season, Durant will have accomplished what he set out to when leaving Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. But while he’s added trophies to his legacy, Durant still isn’t given the credit that other stars receive when they capture titles.
Should Durant choose to leave the Warriors after this season, it would make sense for him to take his talents to a marquee franchise that is starved to return to championship glory.
The Knicks haven’t won a title since 1973 and the relatively weak Eastern Conference could give Durant a chance to take the team deep in the playoffs in Year 1. As for the Lakers, the combination of Durant and LeBron James would be too much for even the rest of the Warriors to handle.
One thing is certain, all eyes will be on Durant next summer.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images