Kevin Durant might be hurt, and will probably miss all of next season recovering from a busted Achilles, but he’s still the biggest fish in the NBA free agent pond. Sure, someone like Kawhi Leonard might be younger and coming off a championship, but KD’s already proven to be one of the top players of all-time, so it’s no surprise that teams will flock to give him a max contract despite his injury.
While there have been plenty of rumors about what Kevin Durant might do once free agency begins in a few days — with reports that he’s definitely signing with the Brooklyn Nets to pair up with Kyrie Irving among the most popular — we might want to pump the brakes on that just a little bit. That’s because, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant is believed to be weighing his free agent options completely “independently” of what other superstars do, which is different than what he did in 2016 when he joined a Golden State Warriors that had just won 73 regular season games.
This seems to counter the reports that many people have said, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, which said that Kevin Durant to Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets is allegedly “pretty much done.” This echos what Bleacher Report‘s Ric Bucher said, too.
Durant and Irving, league sources say, have met twice in recent weeks to discuss their desire to continue their careers on the same team, an idea forged while playing together on the U.S. national team. The first meeting took place in the Bay Area while Durant nursed a strained right calf; the second occurred in New York shortly after Durant had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Irving, meanwhile, also recently purchased a new home in South Orange, New Jersey, but league sources say he is pressing Durant to join him with the Nets and is trying to recruit Jordan as well. Durant did have his Achilles repaired by a Nets team physician, Dr. Martin O’Malley, but the New York Post’s Mark Fischer quoted one of O’Malley’s medical colleagues warning not to read too much into that.
With NBA free agency kicking off this weekend, it’ll be interesting to see how much of these reports deem to be true, and which ones are used for leverage by players to get bigger money. Kevin Durant can choose any team he wants, so, whether he makes a decision by himself in order to be “the man,” or if he teams up with a superstar or two, it’ll go a long way in how his legacy continues to be defined.