It’s not shocking, but it’s certainly news — Kevin Durant has turned down his $31.5 million player option with the Warriors to become an unrestricted free agent.
According to ESPN, the injured superstar is in New York with business manager Rich Kleiman “evaluating free agency options.”
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant has declined his $31.5M player option and will become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell ESPN. Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman are in New York, evaluating free agency options. So far, process has stayed private.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2019
Potential destinations will be plentiful for Durant when free agency begins June 30 as the Knicks, Nets, Warriors and others will try to land one of the top players in the NBA.
Durant has been heavily linked to the Nets and has reportedly met twice with fellow free agent Kyrie Irving about joining forces in Brooklyn.
However, Andre Iguodala is convinced Durant will re-up with Golden State along with Klay Thompson, who also suffered a catastrophic injury in the NBA Finals.
“I think they’ll both be back with the Golden State Warriors,” Iguodala said Monday . “We’re like brothers. We keep in contact. But regardless of any of that, if both decide to leave, then they would both still be my brother(s). I’ll still keep in contact with them as much as possible. I just wish the best for both of those guys. They come back full strength.”
And while several destinations will construct elaborate pitches for Durant, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told ESPN that Golden State will simply point to the success of the franchise as its selling point.
“We’re not doing any videos and tours of the city. Basically it’s a ‘We want you back and we hope you decide to come back and see what happens,’ but we’re at a different place now,” Kerr said. “But any time you’re trying to retain your own players, I think the song and dance, the pomp and circumstance is unnecessary and I actually think it’s unnecessary even for other players. You just got to do what you got to do, but with our group it’s just — conversation.”
What could keep Durant from re-sigining with Golden State is the team’s handling of his injuries in the postseason. He missed several games with a calf injury suffered in the Western Conference semifinals but returned for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors only to leave in the second quarter with a ruptured Achilles.
According to Bleacher Report, one league executive said Durant is “really pissed off at the Warriors” regarding the whole ordeal.