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Kevin Durant Rumors: Free Agent Engaging Warriors, Knicks, Clippers, Nets

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington. The Warriors won 126-118. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Kevin Durant is reportedly expected to engage four teams when free agency opens.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, KD intends to speak with the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.

Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Durant declined his $31.5 million player option for 2019-20 to become an unrestricted free agent.

Wojnarowski added Durant's decision-making process in free agency "could extend well into next week."

Durant's reported list of suitors comes as little surprise since he has been linked to the Warriors, Nets, Clippers and Knicks in recent weeks.

The team that signs KD must deal with the reality he could miss the entire 2019-20 season. Durant suffered a torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which may force him to rehab for a whole year before returning to the court.

It was speculated throughout the 2018-19 season that Durant was preparing to leave in free agency, but it isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Thursday that Golden State has "expressed some recent optimism privately" that it can re-sign Durant.

That is primarily due to the fact that the Warriors are the only team capable of offering KD a five-year, $221 million max extension.

If the Warriors cannot re-sign Durant, they may try to use the allure of a five-year max extension to convince the two-time NBA Finals MVP to agree to a sign-and-trade. NBA insider Brian Windhorst appeared Thursday on ESPN's Get Up and said the Dubs are open to a sign-and-trade.

Windhorst noted it would be a good move for Golden State since the trade would land it a $35 million exception that could be used to acquire other players.

Klay Thompson is a free agent, and he could also miss all of 2019-20 after suffering a torn ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Even if the Warriors re-sign Thompson, they will need more capable bodies to put around Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Assuming Durant doesn't re-sign, trading him would be the best way for Golden State to make room for other players since it won't have cap space otherwise.

The team that lands Durant will primarily be looking ahead to the 2020-21 season, but signing him could be a franchise-altering move for the Nets, Clippers or Knicks since it would likely aid significantly in attracting another max free agent to play alongside him, such as Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard.

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