Kevin Durant’s injury during last night’s game left a huge question mark going into free agency. Not only does his injury affect his own free agency and the decisions he’ll make, but it also affects other players who are hitting the open market this upcoming offseason.
An Achilles injury is one of the worst injuries you can suffer in sports. Players who suffer an injury like this don’t have the best track record of coming back the same. Durant has a $31.5M player option for next season. If he decides to pick up that option, take a year off, and enter free agency next offseason, this can affect where players like Kyrie Irving choose to go and where Anthony Davis will be traded.
First things first, I don’t think this injury should affect his free agency. If I were the Knicks, the Clippers, or any team that already had their eye on targeting Kevin Durant in free agency, I’d still offer him a 4-year max contract. You know why? Because he’s Kevin Freaking Durant, the best player in the world, in my opinion.
But, we don’t know the severity of the injury yet, and we saw how bad KD wanted to be out there with his teammates and help them win. KD could see this as a way to stay in Golden State one more year and try to win it all again. Hell, if the Warriors lose in the Finals, it wouldn’t shock me one bit if KD signed a new deal with Golden State, because this series has shown so far that the Warriors need Kevin Durant to win in today’s NBA.
That’s not the point of the article. Let’s say Kevin Durant picks up his player option and doesn’t hit free agency until 2020. What does this mean for Kyrie Irving, the player linked to teaming up with Durant the most? Well, Kyrie can still do what he wants, but if he planned to team up with KD elsewhere, that plan could be put on hold. Kyrie can decide to sign a 1+1 deal with Boston, hoping to get another shot at winning a championship with the Celtics and then hit free agency again in 2020 with KD and go from there.
Teams like the Knicks may be hesitant to trade for Anthony Davis. If Kevin Durant stays in Golden State and Kyrie doesn’t want to go to the Knicks alone, they could back off trade talks and build around their youth. If the Knicks can’t find another superstar to pair AD with, is it worth trading all their assets for him if he’s going to be all by himself? They could make the trade and wait until next free agency to bring in another superstar, but Knicks’ fans might burn down Madison Square Garden if they have to wait one more year for a star free agent to come to New York.
With the possibility of Kevin Durant missing a lot, if not all, of next season, teams can look at this as an opportunity to build a super team and try to win it all next season. If the Warriors won’t be at full strength, that leaves the door wide open for teams to come in and make a serious run at a championship. Boston, for example, can become much more aggressive trying to acquire Anthony Davis, even if it’s for a one-year rental. Teams will see their window start to open up, leading to moves being made that we might not expect.
We can only speculate at this point, but once we know more about the severity of KD’s injury, we may have a better idea of what will happen in just a few weeks.
Most importantly, prayers up for Kevin Durant. You hate to see any player go down with an injury on the biggest stage, especially with an injury like that. What’s most important is that he heals up, doesn’t rush back from injury, and makes a full comeback. It doesn’t matter where he’s at, as long as he’s healthy that is what’s most important.
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