NBA Rumors: Kevin Durant Considering 'Possible Partnership' with Kawhi Leonard

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 10:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors defends Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the NBA Finals on June 10, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Rival NBA executives reportedly believe the Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant has "considered a possible partnership" with fellow superstar Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors ahead of both becoming unrestricted free agents Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Saturday the Los Angeles Clippers believe pitching Durant on playing with Leonard is their path to landing KD amid competition from the Brooklyn Nets.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne received similar information Saturday morning, reporting the All-Star tandem is "discussing scenarios that could include a future with them playing together," likely with either the Clippers or New York Knicks.

It's a sudden sign of hope for the Knicks, who were long linked to a potential combination of Durant and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving throughout the season. Those rumors had faded in recent weeks as the Nets appeared to emerge as a front-runner for KD and Irving, though.

If the rumors about Durant and Leonard, who have combined to win the last three NBA Finals MVP Awards, teaming up in L.A. or New York are true, it must mean the former San Antonio Spurs star is over a 2014 remark by KD calling him a "system" player.

In December, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported Kawhi still wasn't happy about the comment (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports):

"I was talking to somebody about that, somebody who knows Kawhi. And I'm just going to give it the qualifier here that, who really knows Kawhi? I mean, very few, I mean very, very few people. Certainly I'm not saying that this is some sort of insight that is dazzling. But, from what I understand, when Kawhi heard that quote, that he was a system player, that it really, really p---ed him off and that that's one of the things that you carry with him."

Durant could miss the entire 2019-20 season after suffering a torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, which were eventually won by Leonard's Raptors. So even if they sign with the same team in free agency, it could be over a year before fans get to see them on the floor together.

Nevertheless, it's another intriguing possibility as the rumor mill hits overdrive ahead of the start of the moratorium period Sunday.