Stephen A. Smith Thinks Rumors About Kevin Durant Leaving Warriors Are 'Legit'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 5: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the game on March 5, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Count ESPN's Stephen A. Smith among those who think Kevin Durant may leave the Golden State Warriors during the offseason.

"I think the scuttlebutt about him departing from Golden State is legit because I definitely think he plans on leaving," he said on Thursday's episode of First Take. "But I want to emphasize two things: The Golden State Warriors as an organization do not plan on losing him, No. 1. And No. 2, Kevin Durant is the kind of dude that changes his mind."

Smith referenced a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that said, in part, "There are members of the organization concerned that Durant's behavior is a sign that he's already got one foot out the door."

Haynes noted Durant has been "combative at times this season with teammates and members of the media" while pointing out Durant and close friend Kyrie Irving have been linked to the New York Knicks.

There was plenty of reaction when Durant and Irving talked to each other during All-Star Weekend:

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Both All-Stars have player options for the 2019-20 season, which has only fueled speculation as they chase a championship with the Warriors and Boston Celtics. Even potential No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson said it "would be dope" to play with them in New York, per SNY's Adam Zagoria.

The Knicks cleared enough cap space for a realistic pursuit of multiple max-contract players when they traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, which figures to help a potential Durant courtship.

Golden State may win another championship this season, but Smith thinks there is a "legit" chance it would be its last with Durant on the roster.