Multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports that they expect the Warriors to still offer Kevin Durant a max extension, regardless of the injury. The only argument against doing so is the commitment to a player who may never be the same. Then again, the alternative is alienating Durant further by offering anything less than the full max and potentially losing him with no sufficient alternative in free agency for 2020 and beyond.
Likewise, multiple league sources also told Yahoo Sports they believe the Knicks will still offer an injured Durant a max deal when free agency opens June 30. “What you don't know is what promises have been made,” one source told Yahoo Sports. “Have the Knicks and Clippers already made such promises? If not, are they willing to get two and a half to three years out of a guy on a four-year contract? Achilles tears take a year out of you and put your other Achilles at a much greater risk.”
Of course, the hope for Durant -- and for anyone who enjoys NBA basketball -- is that the injury isn't as severe as feared. But if it is indeed a torn Achilles -- and if Durant declines his $31.5 million player option for next season -- any team interested in signing Durant would have to be comfortable with him possibly being sidelined for the first year of his contract. Would the Knicks, who have enough cap space to sign two max free agents, be comfortable with that scenario? We'll find out in a few weeks, but there are indeed some members of the organization who would consider offering Durant a contract this summer, per SNY sources. Durant is eligible for a four-year, $141 million max contract from New York or any other team looking to sign him away from the Warriors.
League sources Tuesday made it plain: Durant’s injury, whether short-term or longer, has done little to cool the ardor of his most dogged free agent pursuers. The likelihood remains that all of the New York/L.A. teams will stay in the hunt for Durant beginning on the afternoon of June 30.
A Western Conference executive, speaking under the condition of anonymity, told The Chronicle that there should still be plenty of franchises willing to offer Durant maximum money despite the fact that he might miss all of next season. Given Durant’s generational talent, a star-hungry team could decide to direct its roster toward competing in 2020-21 when he has recovered from the Achilles injury.
Now the cursed Knicks have to contemplate a free agency that may or may not include Durant, who could opt-in to the final $31 million year of his contract with the Warriors if he’s deemed out for next season. According to a source, Durant has until the last possible day — June 29 — to make that decision. The courting begins a day earlier this year, June 30, and he still may be on crutches.
According to a source, the Warriors were going to pitch Durant on signing long term, with the understanding that if he wanted to leave at any point during his contract the team would grant him that wish. That could still be in the works even with Durant likely to sit out most if not all of next season.
Although a torn Achilles could cost Durant the entire 2019-20 season, Marks said he spoke with three teams, and all of them remain willing to pursue KD in free agency: "I said ... If you had cap space, would you go out and sign Kevin Durant knowing that he will likely be out maybe the whole year? And the resounding answer was 'yes.' Each of the teams also said that they wouldn't even put any injury language in there for maybe years three and four to protect. So, yes, there will be a marketplace for Kevin Durant this summer, either with a team for four years, $141 million dollars or even back in Golden State here."
Some of Durant’s NBA peers who are interested in his next free-agent destination wondered if he’s happy in the Bay Area and plotted how to pitch their teams to the future Hall of Famer. Durant, of course, learned of these inquiries. “I can’t be recruited,” Durant told Yahoo Sports last week. “Write that.”
Tommy Beer: Interesting insight from Chris Carter this morning on @FTFonFS1. Carter, who is very close w/ Kawhi Leonard and his camp, said that: "I believe the Knicks have a shot to land Kawhi and KD." And added that Kawhi and Durant teaming up in New York is a "real possibility."
This simple analysis brings the list down to five teams, with a nod to the possibility that the Knicks could move toward contention by acquiring an additional superstar. But would that work? NBA sources suggest you can eliminate LeBron’s Lakers and Steph’s Warriors if Durant’s goal remains to avenge his social media critics, to prove he can win on a team that he leads.
Trevor Lane: Windhorst on ESPN says that Brooklyn is hoping to bring in Kyrie and that he will help them land his friend, Kevin Durant.
According to NBA sources, Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry fully expect to get a meeting with Raptors star Kawhi Leonard and at least have a puncher’s chance despite all the Kevin Durant hoopla.
Things @stephenasmith is hearing: -Kyrie is planning on committing to the Nets -If the Warriors win the Finals, KD will leave
Kevin Durant is one of the top free agents on the market, and is expected to give the Knicks strong consideration if he decides to leave Golden State. If Durant asked Charles Barkley about signing with the Knicks as a free agent, here is what Barkley would tell him: "Well I'd say, 'Kevin you're one of the greatest players I've ever seen. You've also got some of the thinnest skin I've ever seen. I don't know if you're made for New York City," Barkley said on a conference call to promote American Century Championship golf tournament. "I think that would be the toughest aspect.
"If he's arguing with these teenagers online, he's not going to be able to deal with that New York media. He's a great person, he's a great player. I don't think he has the mental makeup to play in New York, that's just my personal opinion." The sensitivity Barkley references is a widely-held, if subjective, view of Durant, of course. The TNT analyst is likely referencing Durant's use of a burner account on social media to respond to critics and other engagement with critics on social media.
Carlos Boozer: But to help in that regard, they can have a chance to make some real noise, especially depending on what happens with the Golden State Warriors. There’s all this news about KD (Kevin Durant) and who knows what happens with Boogie (DeMarcus Cousins). I’m hearing that Klay (Thompson) might want to go to the Lakers. I don't know why they would break up, because they got a rock star thing going on over there that reminds me of the Bulls with (Michael) Jordan and (Scottie) Pippen in the '90s of going to the Finals every year, but whatever happens, if that marriage gets divorced and some of those players leave, and if any of those free agents want to come to Utah and join with Donovan Mitchell and the rest of that crew, they could really make some noise. I like that foundation, I just thought they were a player away, like an All-Star player away from being a real contender.
SNY also learned recently that the Nets would not shy away from signing Irving even if they re-sign point guard D'Angelo Russell. The ideal scenario would be to pair two max free agents, such as Kevin Durant and Irving, but sources say the Nets would be open to pairing Irving and Russell in the backcourt together.
“I feel like for the last three years everybody has taken their shots at trying to nitpick or break us down, or drive a wedge in our team chemistry and togetherness,” Curry said after his team’s practice in Oakland. “This year, it’s been amplified even more with (Durant’s) free-agency stuff. Nobody can say anything without it getting scrutinized or criticized.”
Kendrick Perkins, who was a teammate of Durant’s in Oklahoma City and played for Doc Rivers in Boston, further fueled the Durant-to-the-Clippers talk when he sat down with Kristine Leahy on her show “Fair Game.” “Don’t be surprised if K.D. signs with the Clippers,” Perkins said. “Everybody is screaming New York but do not be surprised if K.D. signs and plays for Doc. I don’t even have to recruit him. He likes the organization. He likes Doc Rivers.”
“You can see Kevin Durant going there,” Perkins said Wednesday while talking to Colin Cowherd on FS1. “They’re in L.A. He can flourish and be himself and it would be his team. I would love to see K.D. play for a coach like Doc Rivers and assistant coaches like Rex, Sam Cassel and Armond Hill. They have a great group of guys. The way Doc draws up plays with his play calling, I could just imagine the plays he would draw up for Kevin Durant.”
Kevin Durant is “100 percent undecided” on where he’s playing next, his manager @RichKleiman says at The #WSJFuture Of Everything Festival. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.”
So I checked with owner Joe Lacob via text on Tuesday afternoon, pointing out that he’s been quite clear about paying what it takes to keep this team together and asking if anything has changed or if his stance is even stronger after the Warriors’ Western Conference triumph. “The season is still ongoing,” Lacob responded. “We are not finished. I have no new ideas or data for you. We love Klay and KD and intend to attempt to re-sign them. Period. I am confident about BOTH of them. “But it is their choice to do what is best for them. They have earned that right. Our goal is to keep our team together. We are pretty good.”
As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised. Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.
Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York.
WSJ Sports: Kevin Durant is “100 percent undecided” on where he’s playing next, his manager @Rich Kleiman says at The #WSJFuture Of Everything Festival. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.”
Durant's manager, Rich Kleiman, told Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay that contrary to other reports the Warriors forward is "100 percent undecided" on where he is playing next year. "That is 100 percent undecided and I'm waiting on Kevin and that's the truth," he said. "I think there's a feeling this thing is like war games and everybody is playing chess years out, but when somebody gets to the level of basketball like that you can't juggle focus like that ... I think it's frustrating, honestly, at times."
For now it is all speculation, but there were anonymous whispers asking if it was true that the Knicks and Durant had already held a secret meeting, that a handshake deal was already in place and that endorsement deals were already ironed out. It wasn’t just talk about the Knicks securing the services of Durant, but that the elite scorer is bolting the Warriors despite all of the success. No one would put a name on their thoughts, but they did at least in their minds, figure out the hardest part of the Durant free agency question: why would he leave the Warriors?
The Knicks are considering packaging their No. 3 pick to New Orleans in a trade for Anthony Davis. It would seem Durant would prefer a ready-made superstar as sidekick, but who knows if he’d rather have Barrett and Kyrie Irving instead — especially considering Durant’s rave reviews of Barrett’s southpaw advantage. “Getting crafty with the left,” Durant said, watching the video on a laptop. “See lefties are tough to guard, man. They can go right better than righties can go left and so a left-hander is hard to guard. He’s a lefty that uses his right, which is gonna help him. “Shoot the J, OK. Man, he’s athletic, man. He can play out top. That’s the thing. You got to be able to play out top, conduct the offense.
Kevin Durant may be the Nets’ top target in free agency, but he’s not the only one. The feeling around the NBA is the Nets will have a very real chance to pry four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler away from Philadelphia.
Finally having the cash and cachet to get looks from the top free agents this July, Nets general manager Sean Marks is expected to be in the hunt for both Durant and Kyrie Irving. But Butler isn’t just a fall-back plan; he’s a two-way star league sources said the Nets have a real shot at landing.
While it's possible that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving play together in 2019, the New York Knicks are reportedly not the only option. Marc Stein of the New York Times said Tuesday that the Brooklyn Nets are also in play for the All-Star duo. "[Durant and Irving] might be a package deal, but they're going to look at the Nets just as hard as the Knicks," Stein said on the Stephen A Smith Show.
While discussing the possibility of the Warriors winning the NBA Finals without Durant -- who currently is out with a calf strain -- Cowherd said an "NBA veteran" slid into his DMs and told him Durant is "100 percent" going to the Knicks and has even started recruiting other players.
"From everything that I've been hearing over the last few days, Kyrie Irving is heading to New York City," Smith said. "Kyrie Irving is heading to Madison Square Garden with Kevin Durant. People in his inner circle are trying to bring the Nets into the mix, but clearly New York is the destination. The likelihood is it will be MSG."
Stephen A. Smith: Yes. From everything I’ve heard, KD and Kyrie are planning on coming to New York. 95% Chance they say! Only potential hiccup is KD changing his mind
Joe Lacob: My great hope is that Klay, as with Draymond and – frankly – KD; all of them who are guys that you’re referring to. …And frankly, I love DeMarcus Cousins too. I mean, he’s another guy who (he’d like to keep). (But) we can only do what we can do within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement. We really like our players – each and every one of them. Draymond has been with us since the beginning. There’s a certain place in my heart for him. Same with Klay. And all I was trying to say by that is that I really personally like them a lot for what they bring to the table. That’s a personal comment, and I really want to see them stay – to be Warriors for life and hopefully build statues for them.
Team officials and rival executives alike have been predicting Kevin Durant’s departure in free agency for months now – cue Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “New York…concrete jungle where dreams are made of…” But there’s a recent sense in Warriors circles that maybe he’ll think twice about joining them on this trek across the Bay Bridge, that this recent stretch of domination and fan appreciation might be the kind of thing that convinces him to – cue LeBron James’ personal motto that hasn’t exactly panned out in Laker Land – RWTW (Roll With The Winners).
Then again, there was this sighting after Game 5 that is sure to warm the hearts of Warriors fans: Rich Kleiman, Durant’s New York-born-and-bred right-hand man and business manager whose ties to the Knicks have been well chronicled, was wearing one of those team-issued yellow Warriors t-shirts. “(Durant) has been great,” Looney said. “He’s been a great leader. He’s been talking. He’s been one of the anchors of our defense and our offense, and he’s been doing it on both ends of the floor. You saw after (Game 2 against the Clippers), you saw him just flip a switch and he’s been taking over. We’ve been feeding off of him, following his energy and he’s been doing a great job.”
Thompson said he thinks “it’s not a question’’ Durant has a thin skin and it could be a small factor in concerns about playing in New York. “What he’s been through in his life, he thinks he can handle anything,’’ Thompson said. “But I do wonder if he is concerned about New York as a good fit for that. But those are minor parts. The bigger story is what is at play. In exchange for media criticism, more media interaction and media issues, he could get the final story that perfectly fits his legacy in the grand scheme and it could be worth it. If he went to New York it wouldn’t be about anything small. It will be about the big picture, the end of a story he started at [the age of] 9.’’
Adrian Wojnarowski: "But even internally in Golden State, there's a sense of, 'Let's try to put aside what's coming in July. We have a chance to do something that's very rare in sports, and that's to three-peat. Let's try and keep our focus there, win the the title, and then let July play out the way it's going to.' But I think the Warriors are bracing for possibly seismic change within that organization."
SNY has learned that while Durant has yet to make any sort of decision, he's interested in playing alongside the 24-year-old LeVert, who was on track for an All-Star season before suffering a dislocated foot back in November. While the hype is around KD and the Knicks, don't sleep on their relationship. Zach Lowe of ESPN has mentioned the relationship and described how Durant loves LeVert.
There has been no indication to date that the Mavericks will get a sniff from the Kevin Durant/Kawhi Leonard/Kyrie Irving tier of free agents. I likewise continue to believe that Golden State’s Klay Thompson is 100 percent staying put with the Warriors and will not consider external suitors.
The Knicks finished with an NBA-worst 17-65 record which tied the lowest mark in franchise history. Knicks officials have maintained extreme positivity over the future with a top-five draft pick in June and cap space for two max free-agent players in July. If Kevin Durant lands here, it’s already being speculated among industry insiders he’d host his own show on MSG Network.
Guy Fieri isn't shy about wanting to prevent another move by Durant, telling Willis that he's willing to chip in to ensure the two-time NBAchampion doesn't leave the Bay Area. "Call me, KD. Tell me what you need," Fieri said before promising to get hands-on in his recruitment. "If there is a such thing as an inspiration dinner that I need to cook to bring all the dignitaries together -- all the players, his team, his mom, you name it -- well, consider that meal cooked."
Some of Durant's former teammates think it's going to happen, per ESPN sources. Several of his current teammates have told friends that they think it's going to happen, sources said. Opposing agents believe it's a fait accompli: "Just a matter of putting pen to paper," is how one agent of another top free agent in the 2019 free agent class put it.
The NBA announced Thursday that James leads in jersey sales at its NBA Store; Durant placed a distant eighth. That would change in a heartbeat, says Bowman. “It’s Madison Square Garden,’’ said Bowman, who grew up in District Heights, the next town over from Durant’s Seat Pleasant, Md. “That’s what we ask when you’re a kid from DC. The biggest stage for the best player. It’s going to be a show. It’s going to be packed. The market there is unmatched. We want to have a little controversy, but in the end, his game is going to speak for itself.”
One opposing executive monitoring Durant's situation closely believes that the opportunity to win in New York -- and push the notion that he jumped on the bandwagon to win rings in Oakland from the forefront of fans' consciousness -- is a pull for the two-time Finals MVP. "Winning there would change the narrative around him," one executive said.
Plus, LeBron James just found out about the pitfalls of joining a team lacking stable management. Would Durant be willing to take the same risk? As one front office executive put it to me last week: Everything should be viewed as on the table when Durant has proved to be unpredictable, especially when the Clippers can also offer a massive media market and a superior product on the court.
League sources know how much Durant cares about his image and legacy and reveres the allure of New York City’s sports stage as a product of a tough Washington area upbringing.
A big part of this circus has been caused by Durant himself. Instead of squashing any rumor of his departure during the Warriors’ first media availability of the season, he said he’d exercise his collectively bargained right to test the market. But with that came intense scrutiny from TV personalities and writers alike, some of whom Durant has called out by name. “That’s a hot topic,” Durant acknowledged of his free agency. “But you don’t have to talk about it. And then you don't have to get mad when I don’t want to talk about it. And then you don’t have to get mad when your little brain is roaming around, but you can’t find the correct answers. That’s bad journalism. That's not doing your job well.”
“I don’t know. I never know,” Durant said. “Nothing. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t think about the future, bro. Like that. Of course, I think about it, but not like, let me make these [plans], let me go ahead and go through the logistics and the details. I don’t go through details on s--t like this. “My whole thing is, I don’t even want the business to get in the way of basketball,” Durant continued. “So, in the beginning of the season, my whole thing was like, let that s--t ... that s--t has nothing to do with me during the season. That has nothing to do with what we’re doing on the court.”
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, after a 38-point, bounce-back performance Thursday night to guide his team to a 2-1 series lead with a 132-105 trouncing of the Los Angeles Clippers, was pleased to be a topic of conversation for all the right reasons. “This was the first time this season that my actual basketball play, and not about what I’m going to do in the future, took over the headlines,” Durant told Yahoo Sports after the win. “Think about that now. That hasn’t happened in a long time. I like that. That’s the way it should be.”
For most of this season, any talking points regarding Durant have centered on his pending free agency this summer. “This game is what it’s all about, not about something that hasn’t even happened,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “Let’s enjoy basketball. I can take the criticism about the game. This is what we’re paid to do. That should be the focus. This is good.”
The fans would despise it, but would the Dubs take KD back on another one-and-one contract? Marcus Thompson: I think they would because Joe Lacob would make them. But they would hate it.
What do you think the Warriors plan is if/when Kevin Durant leaves? Marcus Thompson: To get the best perimeter capable player they can for the $7 million they would have. If there is a chance trading Draymond can get them something, I wouldn't be surprised if they did that. But they'd have to love it. Otherwise, it's re-sign Klay, extend Draymond and see who wants to run with those guys
To be clear, we don’t know whether Durant will consider the Clippers this offseason. Logic doesn’t always apply in free agency decisions, but among the teams with enough cap space to sign Durant, the Clippers are arguably both an appealing destination and the best set up to build a long-term contender. “L.A. is a desired place of living — guys like to be there during the offseason,” an NBA agent told The Athletic. “And they have stuff that sets them apart from like the Lakers: continuity, cohesiveness. They have an owner who will do whatever it takes that’s possible.
“They have a nice blend of young talent with guys who are role players and excelling and thriving in their roles,” the agent continued. “If you’re a star and you come in, they already have guys who know their roles. In other situations, you try to bring in role players and have to deal with role allocation and adjustments. I think any star would be a seamless fit with the Clippers.”
Most people in the NBA don’t expect Durant to re-sign with the Warriors no matter what happens in the playoffs. 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.
For those still speculating that Durant has already made a free-agency decision, the Warriors star has a message for you. “Yo, just watch the game. Just focus on the game and stop nitpicking, because it is a beautiful game going on out there,” Durant told The Undefeated. “What can I do right now? I can’t sign a paper. I got to do the most important thing, and that is play. And that is what we should be focusing on.”
Durant added that it would be disrespectful to his Warriors teammates to make a decision about his future during the playoffs. “If I already made a decision, it would take away from the team, what we’re fighting for. Every play would be overshadowed by it,” Durant said. “It is not necessary for me to make a decision right now. It would be bad to do that. It would take the focus off of what is important. I would never want to put my teammates in a messed-up position. I want to forget about it.
While Durant isn’t focused on where he’ll play next season, he told The Undefeated in December that he loves living in the Bay Area. “It’s a place where you can blend in,” Durant said. “I always wanted to blend in and do my thing. I’ve lived in a couple places here in the Bay. Moving around and seeing the people here, I can relate to everybody here. When I drive around Oakland, I feel like I am in Maryland and D.C. Then when I go to the city [San Francisco], it feels like I am in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Having has spent much of his career in pursuit of James, using his success as a barometer for what he needs to accomplish, Durant now has a chance to tie him in championships and capture the three-peat that would put him in select company alongside Russell and Jordan. He’s in that position because he’s endured the storm, all for chasing what had eluded him in previous places. “I’m from Washington, D.C. I went to Oklahoma City for eight years. Out of nowhere, I went to the Bay for three years,” Durant said. “I’ve been roaming my whole life. I never had no stable environment. Ever. Ever. Since I woke up. I sacrificed a lot of shit to be here and to change my game up to be with these guys. And it was worth it.”
The Lakers will now turn their attention to an offseason in which they are expected to revisit trade options for Davis, while also chasing top targets in free agency – as unlikely as it is that Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will come, according to a league source who believes the Lakers will be second or third on those players’ lists. The fear that the Lakers could strike out with their top targets has already led to some message massaging. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James told The Athletic. The Lakers could build a team of complementary pieces better suited for James, like Boston’s Marcus Morris or Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, and fare better than they did this season. But it would run counter to Johnson’s stated philosophy. After all, on a World Series broadcast last fall, Johnson declared, “I’m going to get another superstar next summer!”
The belief is that Durant will only join the Knicks if another high-level free agent agrees to sign with the Knicks as well. The most likely candidate is the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, who coincidentally won a championship in Cleveland as Robin to LeBron’s Batman. He could fill that same role at MSG. So sure are some executives and player agents of a Durant-Irving pairing in New York that one agent told The Athletic that Durant and Irving are debating on who will sign first.
Yes, this is Curry’s team, but much of its future hinges on Durant’s decision, of course. So how much is Lacob stressing over Durant’s upcoming free agency? “I honestly don’t even think about it,” Lacob said. “I don’t. Because there’s nothing I can do about it. Zero. He has earned the right to be a free agent. He’s going to make the choice that feels best for him. And it’s our job to, when the season’s over, convince him that the right decision is to be a Warrior for life.
“Look, we can pay him the most money. We have a great team. We have great coaching. We have great fans. I don’t think anyone can match us, when you take everything into consideration, if that’s the way you’re thinking about it. And he has a chance to win — and let’ s hope it goes well this year — a chance to win more championships. I mean, it could be legendary. If he stays here … I don’t know that you get this kind of opportunity very often. So I would hope that he thinks that and accepts that and decides he wants to stay. “But on the other hand, I’m not going to be mad at him, either way. Whatever he decides to do, he decides to do. And I’ll probably be a Kevin Durant fan no matter what. I’m not going to be emotional about it. There’s no point.”
“I’m not sure New York is for everybody,” says one Eastern Conference executive with ties to the Knicks. “New York is littered with players in every sport who all thought they wanted New York but they weren’t cut out for it.”
Ric Bucher: "Now the latest I've heard - and keep this strictly in the hot rumor file - is that Kevin Durant would love to play with Jimmy Butler in New York, as well. That it would be the three of them [Durant, Butler and Kyrie Irving]."
Or it may end this summer, when Cousins, Durant and Thompson are all expected to be free agents (assuming Durant opts out of the $31.5 million last year on his contract). The players may agree to stay together or choose to seek out other challenges. The buzz from various executives, scouts and media members suggests that Durant is ready to move on. Thompson, if offered the max, will stay. If not, he too could exit. The Warriors may not be able to match market value for Cousins.
"From everything I've heard, it's done. Yes, he's leaving... If he so much as gets [the Knicks] into the Conference Finals, he will be beloved there like he never has been at Golden State after 2 Championships." @RicBucher on Kevin Durant's free agency
If you want rumors and predictions, they're not hard to find in this gossipy league. Rival executives will tell you, without hesitation, that Durant is bound for the Knicks; that Irving is likely to join him; that Leonard likes the Clippers; that Butler might choose the Lakers—unless he chooses the Nets. Of course, they all might stay put. (Well, except for Durant. Virtually everyone believes he's leaving the Warriors.) No one knows for sure. Predictions are flimsy.
He said he believes Fizdale will turn the Knicks around and is cheering for him to land a big free agent with his big personality. “We’ll see,’’ Wade said of Fizdale landing a star along the lines of Kevin Durant. “It’s his second head-coaching job but first time in a role like this in New York. You hope so. I’m a big fan of his, he’s a good friend of mine. I hope so.”
In Durant’s new video series “Fly By,” he’ll get a personal tour from three players of three different cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Brooklyn, which will get last licks. Durant will not be with Russell on the tour, but the walkthrough will air as part of the Warriors star’s series.
“It’s pretty cool,” LeVert said before the Nets eliminated the Lakers from playoff contention with a 111-106 win. “It speaks to not only what we’ve done this season as a team, but to what D’Angelo has done on the court and also being a leader off the court that guys like Kevin Durant want to be close to him and a part of what he’s doing. I don’t think superstars, especially Kevin, want to be the one who has to carry the whole team, the full load on his own. He’s in his 30s now, so he definitely wants to go to a team that has a good core, has a good culture, has good guys on the team, and we fit all those categories.”
Caris LeVert: “[Russell’s] played at an All-Star level. Everybody wants to play with a great point guard, a great floor general, and he’s put himself in that conversation for sure. That lessens the load for a guy like Kevin Durant or another superstar who wants to come play with us. They don’t want to be the only one on the team, so that’s very attractive that D’Angelo has elevated himself to that level to play with.”
Kevin Durant will get a tour of Brooklyn from D’Angelo Russell. The Nets can only hope their star guard gets in some successful recruiting along the way. In Durant’s new video series “Fly By,” he’ll get a personal tour from three players of three different cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Brooklyn, which will get last licks. “Oh, man, I had no idea about that first of all. Listen, I really don’t want to comment on it,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, careful to never utter Durant’s name. “There’s some players in this league who are friendly with each other, and if you want to get together and take a tour of Brooklyn, that’s great.
LeVert thinks Russell could be a selling point to Durant or other stars. “[Russell’s] played at an All-Star level. Everybody wants to play with a great point guard, a great floor general, and he’s put himself in that conversation for sure. That lessens the load for a guy like Kevin Durant or another superstar who wants to come play with us. They don’t want to be the only one on the team, so that’s very attractive that D’Angelo has elevated himself to that level to play with.”
I want to end by talking about this summer’s top free agents. I want to throw some different names at you and then you tell me what you predict the player will do and what you hope they do. Let’s start with Kevin Durant. Jalen Rose: If it was up to me, I’d actually like to see Kevin Durant remain a member of the Golden State Warriors. The last time I checked, he’s been there two years and won two championships and been named Finals MVP twice. That’s the mic drop. Now, if he decides to leave, I believe he’s going to end up a member of the New York Knicks. Same with Kyrie Irving. I would like to see him stay with the Boston Celtics. They have arguably the best general manager (Danny Ainge) and coach (Brad Stevens) in the game, they’ve won the most championships, they have terrific young talent and they could possibly get up to four draft picks in the first round this summer. I would like to see him stay in Boston. But if he decides to leave, I think he also ends up with the Knickerbockers.
Yet to hear Draymond tell it, these Warriors have mastered the art of compartmentalizing when it comes to the Durant situation. “It’s not important,” he said of the Durant dynamic. “We’re not about to sit around and walk around, or carry something around, that happened in November.”
How Dolan’s baggage impacts free agency is unclear. The general feeling is that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will seriously consider joining the Knicks this summer. You can find coaches, players, executives and players who will tell you that Durant is headed to the Knicks. Building his business empire and cementing his legacy with a title in New York appeals to Durant. But Dolan’s ugly exit on Saturday is a reminder that the Knicks, for most of the last 18 years, have been a train wreck. The dysfunction starts at the top. That certainly concerns Mills and it should concern free agents, including Team Durant.
Jimmy Traina: More Barkley: " I dont think Durant or Kyrie are tough enough to play in NY. Kyrie's a very good player. Kevin's a great, great player. But Im not sure they have the mental make up to play in NY. Those guys are complaining about the media asking questions. Maybe NY isnt for them.
Windhorst recently discussed the relationship on ESPN Radio (around the 28-minute mark): "I was talking to some people who were with 'Team Free Agent', I mean 'Team LeBron' at All-Star, and they said that Kyrie and KD were like a middle school couple that weekend. Eating together. ... Doing drills together at practice. 'I'll rebound for you. You rebound for me. I'll post you up. You post me up.' They were eating together. They went to Miami together after the weekend."
David Locke: What are Kevin Durant's chances of staying with the Warriors next year? Sam Amick: I'm gonna say 15 [percent]. Locke: Your best guess of where Durant plays next year? Amick: New York.
David Locke: Does Kyrie Irving play with Kevin Durant next year? Sam Amick: This is where it gets tricky. I say no and now I don't know who Kevin's playing with and now I don't feel great about my last answer. I was just around Boston and Kyrie took a turn for the better, and so that's where it gets tricky. I know for a fact, they [New York] are searching for who that second guy would be if it's not gonna be Kyrie.
August 6, 2021 | 12:10 am EDT Update
Free agent wing Kelly Oubre Jr. and the Charlotte Hornets are finalizing an agreement on a multiyear deal, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The final numbers are still being ironed out, but his annual salary is expected to exceed $12 million, sources said.
NBA Top Shot will sell highlights from the upcoming Summer League basketball competition as non-fungible tokens for the first time, it said on Tuesday. The NFTs will feature outstanding play “moments” from three days of games at the NBA Summer League meet in Las Vegas, those on August 8-10. Fans will be able to pre-order the $5 moments from a kiosk at the venue. “For the first time ever, NBA Top Shot fans will have the ability to purchase a moment in an arena, and receive a moment from a game they saw in-person,” the company said in its statement.
NBA Top Shot is one of the biggest NFT marketplaces, recent data shows. In the month to August 4, it hosted 109,351 traders and carried out 671,149 sales, according to DappRadar. However, those tallies were down month-on-month by 35.15% and 53.39%, respectively.
August 5, 2021 | 9:45 pm EDT Update
David Aldridge: Veteran free agent forward Kelly Oubre is in discussions with the Charlotte Hornets, per sources. There’s no agreement tonight, but talks are ongoing. Could be a good fit with a young, athletic Hornets team. Averaged 15.4 ppg for the Warriors last season.
Josh Robbins: Fourth-year center Mo Bamba, who is not on Orlando’s summer league roster, participated in the team’s first practice this afternoon here in Las Vegas. Bamba will practice with the team until the exhibitions begin.