Warriors Rumors: Kevin Durant Not Likely to Re-Sign Regardless of Playoff Result

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) stands next to Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the second half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Regardless of how the Golden State Warriors fare in the 2019 playoffs, it reportedly won't impact Kevin Durant's decision in free agency. 

According to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, "Most people in the NBA don't expect Durant to re-sign with the Warriors no matter what happens in the playoffs."

Durant is widely expected to decline his contract option for the 2019-20 season, which would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. Before that happens, KD is attempting to lead the Warriors to a third consecutive NBA championship.

Kawakami added that the Warriors have approached this playoff run with the idea that there won't be any hard feelings if KD decides to leave during the offseason, although he isn't so sure the team truly feels that way: "It's the tacit bargain that I believe the Warriors' headliners all made—hang together to give their shot for a three-peat and then if Durant leaves, he leaves with no apologies necessary. But there's inherent tension in that, too, of course."

Durant has made no promises or commitments when asked about his free-agency plans throughout the 2018-19 season, which has naturally led to speculation that he could be on his way out.

Of all the possible destinations for Durant, the New York Knicks are the team that has been mentioned most often. Rumors continue to swirl about Durant going to the Big Apple, and among the most recent developments, Max Kellerman said last week on ESPN's First Take he is "hearing increasingly" that Durant and Kyrie Irving joining forces with the Knicks is a "real thing."

The 30-year-old Durant is in the midst of his third season with the Warriors, and his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for Golden State has paid off thus far.

Durant has been an All-Star three times as a member of the Warriors, and he has been named NBA Finals MVP in each of the past two seasons. He will look to make it three in a row in these playoffs.

While Golden State is the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, it is tied 1-1 in its first-round playoff series with the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers after blowing a 31-point lead in Game 2. The Warriors also lost center DeMarcus Cousins to a torn quad.

The Houston Rockets are another potential roadblock between the Warriors and the NBA Finals after pushing them to seven games in the Western Conference Finals last season, and both the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors had a better regular-season record than the Warriors out of the East.

A three-peat is far from a guarantee for Golden State, and with Durant and Klay Thompson having the option to leave in free agency during the offseason, this could be the Warriors' last chance to make a championship run.

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