Kevin Durant has declined his $31.5 million player option with the Golden State Warriors and will become an unrestricted free agent. The rumored teams that Durant will be deciding between are the Warriors, Nets, Clippers, and Knicks.
Here is a ranking of those four rumored destinations:
4. Los Angeles Clippers: It’s hard to envision Kawhi Leonard taking a backseat and joining the Clippers with Durant. Therefore, if Durant chooses the Clippers, he is likely coming alone. The Clippers could save their other max slot and try to pair Durant with another superstar in two years, but with LeBron James and the Lakers in the same city and now reloaded, that appears to be far too great of a risk for Durant. A Durant-led Clippers team, with no other superstar, would be good in two years, but not exactly a situation set up to bolster his legacy.
3. Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are the betting favorites for Durant. If the oddsmakers are correct, it’s safe to assume Brooklyn will also be welcoming Kyrie Irving. The Nets can’t give Durant the glamor, arena, or fan base that the other team in New York can. But they can give him a much better chance to win his first ring as The Man. Which seemingly, is the only reason he would leave the Warriors.
2. Golden State Warriors: The talk that Durant is just along for the ride in Golden State is, or at least should be, officially over. Clearly, the Warriors need him and are nowhere near all-time great without him. Taking that into account with his Achilles injury, and the extra year and nearly $60 million more Golden State can offer is much harder to walk away from. Staying with the Warriors almost ensures Durant he will be competing for a championship upon his return. With that said, even as the team’s best player, this is and always will be Steph Curry’s team.
1. New York Knicks: No team, no city, no situation gives Durant the upside in regards to his legacy that the Knicks do. Putting Madison Square Garden, the Knicks, and New York basketball back on the map would be unparalleled. We all know Durant is a transcendent player on the court, but winning a championship with the Knicks would instantly insert him into the conversation as the greatest player of all-time. Now, that ring sure is not a guarantee, but the career and legacy upside significantly outweighs the downsides that will come with the Knicks for Durant. In fact, this decision isn’t all that hard. There is a reason this has been the most discussed possibility for nine straight months.