Kevin Durant Plans to Return to Warriors, Says Anything Can Happen

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2018

Fans cheer as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant walks through a tunnel after Game 6 of the NBA basketball Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, May 26, 2018. The Warriors won 115-86. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Kevin Durant's first two seasons with the Golden State Warriors have gone as well as he could have hoped, so he doesn't plan on leaving anytime soon.   

But he also knows the NBA is a business.

When asked by USA Today's Sam Amick if he would re-sign with Golden State rather than depart via free agency this summer, Durant made it clear he has every intention to remain in the Bay Area.

"Yeah, yeah. I feel as though (I am). Everything, the money and stuff that's got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn't plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I've been a part of this league for so long now."

That echoes what Durant told The Athletic's Anthony Slater in March, when he said there was a 100 percent chance he'd remain in a Warriors uniform.

The former NBA MVP may plan on re-signing with Golden State, but a lot can happen over the next month that could impact his decision. Perhaps he wants to see how the rest of free agency plays out, as ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Wednesday that LeBron James "will have a conversation" with the Warriors this summer.

Durant has accepted discounts in the past to help the Warriors have some wiggle room for building a roster, namely to afford Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. However, ESPN.com's Chris Haynes noted in April that Durant does not have much incentive to take a discount this time around, although he had not decided upon his contract approach at the time.

After winning his first ring in his first season with Golden State last year, Durant and Co. are closing in on a repeat. The Houston Rockets pushed them to seven games in the Western Conference Finals, though.

The nine-time All-Star told Amick that losing that series wouldn't have changed his approach to free agency.

"No, nothing would have changed. I feel like, like I said, the only thing that would've changed is the fact that it would have opened up—I mean, this (Finals series) isn't even over right now, so if something goes wrong, it would be the same thing. I don't think anything would change other than people look at it as a perfect opportunity to do what they want to do, which is put me down.

"That's the only thing I felt like would've been different from last year. That's the only thing that, when it comes down to once the smoke clears if we would've lost, that's the only thing you really could pinpoint that would change compared to last year. My mindset wouldn't have changed. My approach wouldn't have changed. I don't know anything about what the organization would've done, because that's not my field, but my approach to the game and the way I would've came into the offseason and the regular season next year, it wouldn't have changed. It would've been the same approach, just see if we could do it again."

For now, Durant and the Warriors are focused on the Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2018 NBA Finals. It won't be long, though, before both sides will have to focus on taking care of business.