Kevin Durant Rumors: 'Recent Sense' Star Could Rethink Leaving Warriors in FA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant scowls after scoring during the second half in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, April 26, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 129-110. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There is reportedly some thought within the Golden State Warriors organization that Kevin Durant's departure in free agency is not a foregone conclusion. 

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there is a "recent sense" among those close to the Warriors that KD might "think twice" about leaving and instead re-sign because of the "recent stretch of domination and fan appreciation."

Durant, who has primarily been linked to the New York Knicks, is currently on the shelf with a right calf strain and is set to miss the remainder of Golden State's second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets.

If the Warriors lose the next two games to the Rockets without Durant and get eliminated, it is possible KD has played his final game as a member of the Warriors.

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher appeared on FS1's The Herd with Colin Cowherd last month and expressed his belief that Durant to the Knicks is essentially a done deal:

The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II isn't so sure. He told Marc Berman of the New York Post this week Durant to New York is far from a lock and noted, "I do feel like the picture the Warriors will paint is a pretty good one."

The Knicks and Warriors aren't viewed as the only potential landing spot for KD. SNY's Anthony Puccio reported last month that the Brooklyn Nets are expected to garner some interest from top free agents like Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on First Take in April the Los Angeles Clippers have a "better than 50 percent chance" to sign both Durant and Leonard in free agency after pushing the Warriors to six games in the first round of the playoffs.

Regardless of what Durant decides to do, there is no denying the impact he has made on the Warriors franchise.

While Golden State was already a great team before he arrived with consecutive NBA Finals appearances and a championship, he has elevated their performance with two straight championships. He was named NBA Finals MVP after both titles.

Without Durant for the rest of the Rockets series, the Warriors will have their work cut out for them. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green need to pick up the slack against James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela.

If Golden State falls short and does not reach the Finals for a fifth consecutive season, it could represent a sign of things to come should the Warriors fail to re-sign Durant to a new deal.

Durant knows what he is getting by re-signing with the Warriors, though, since they are perennial contenders. Joining a team like the Knicks would come with plenty of risk, as they have not reached the playoffs since 2012-13.

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