Bill Simmons recently went on the record (h/t NBC's Tommy Breer) and said he'd "bet" Durant, along with Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving, will wind up in the Big Apple this offseason. He's not alone in that stance, though.
Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher went on FS1's The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Wednesday and said it's a "done" deal:
Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd
"From everything I've heard, it's done. Yes, he's leaving... If he so much as gets [the Knicks] into the Conference Finals, he will be beloved there like he never has been at Golden State after 2 Championships." @RicBucher on Kevin Durant's free agency https://t.co/eCHgKQxKTF
"From everything I've heard, it's done," Bucher told Cowherd. "Yes, he's leaving."
Durant's current contract holds a player option for 2019-20.
Since arriving in the Bay Area in 2016, Durant has helped the Warriors win back-to-back championships while taking home Finals MVP both times. This year has more of the same to this point. He is averaging 26.5 points per game, his highest since joining Golden State, while guiding his team to the top record in the Western Conference at 53-24.
The thought of leaving a team after a potential three-peat may seem outrageous, but Bucher discussed the fact that Durant has never felt fully embraced by Warriors fans.
"It's not a matter of not liking or appreciating what he has," Bucher told Cowherd. "Kevin Durant has never been fully been embraced by the Warriors faithful. And has never, even from a national perspective, has been given the just due that you would expect for a guy who has been the NBA Finals MVP of their last two championships. It's still Steph's team."
Bucher noted that Durant would be viewed as a savior if he so much as took the Knicks to the Eastern Conference Finals. New York has not advanced past the second round since 2000.
It's worth noting that Durant made it clear last June that Warriors players weren't worried about winning Finals MVP or being the star. All that matters in Golden State is championships—and Durant is 2-for-2 in the Bay Area thus far.
Durant has declined to discuss his free-agency plans despite it being an ongoing hot topic throughout the season. When New York cleared space for two max slots earlier this year with the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Durant emphatically told reporters that he had "nothing to do" with the Knicks:
The speculation will only grow as July 1 approaches. For now, though, Durant's focus will be on trying to win a third consecutive championship rather than free agency.