Kevin Durant’s free agency is the big elephant in the room for the Golden State Warriors. While the two-time NBA Finals MVP is, arguably, the most dynamic player on the planet when healthy, with his recent Achilles injury (presumably) sidelining him for the upcoming season, the Warriors aren’t exactly sure what to do with Durant. Do they offer him the max deal? Do they do a sign-and-trade to get something in return for him?
All we know right now is that Kevin Durant declined his $31.5 million player option the other day — which has led to plenty of rumors already — meaning he’s set to hit the free agent market. What that means for him and the Warriors is left to be seen, but, at the moment, it sure sounds as if the team has no clue what the hell to do with the superstar.
That’s according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who went on Get Up this morning to talk about NBA free agency, specifically detailing what he’s hearing in terms of Durant. Windhorst said that, while Golden State’s open to a sign-and-trade, he also went on to add that they appear to be in “scramble mode,” which probably isn’t a good sign as free agency approaches on July 1.
“My sense is that the Warriors are in the scramble mode to do anything that they can to either keep Kevin or not lose him for nothing. The last thing that the Warriors want is for him to just go sign with the Nets or sign with the Knicks. So in addition to offering him the five-year contract and hoping that he will either stay with them or be willing to rehab with them and then be traded, the Warriors are wide-open to considering sign-and-trade scenarios.”
While a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant is something that’s been reported over the past week or so, Windhorst was quick to add that pulling a fair deal off isn’t going to be easy for the Warriors. Stating how difficult it would be to both maneuver one to a team of Durant’s choosing and getting value back might potentially be the biggest hiccup.
“They would love, let’s say Kevin wants to go to the Nets, they would love to do a sign-and-trade with the Nets. Now you might say, ‘Well, what would they get back?’ Well, what they could do is they could get back a trade exception, where you’d get a $35 million basically gift certificate that they could then use to go get other players, which they are going to need.
“You may not get any type of standout player back, but they have no functional way to improve their team because they don’t have any roster space; they’re not gonna have any salary-cap space if he leaves. So the Warriors really want to work alongside Kevin Durant over the next week, whether it’s to keep him, whether it’s to help him go elsewhere. Now, the Nets wouldn’t really be incentivized — or the Knicks or the Clippers — to help the Warriors, so that may not end up happening.”
Kevin Durant’s future is totally up in the air right now. And while some may point out that he’s getting a max deal regardless, nobody knows what type of player he’ll be after going through rehab and dealing with such a serious injury. Currently 31 years old, once he returns, he may no longer show the explosiveness and agility he has throughout his career, which is why so many teams are doing their due diligence before moving forward with recruiting him.