One of the biggest fish in the 2019 free-agent pond is reportedly opting out of his deal.
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant has declined his option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, are in New York and are evaluating Durant's free agency options, Wojnarowski reports, and the process has remained private.
The news was also reported by Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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
If Durant were to re-sign with the Warriors, he could ink a five-year, $221 million deal. If he signs with another team, the most he can get is a four-year, $164 million deal. Wojnarnowski reports Durant is still considering staying put, but the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are all believed to be in the running for him as well.
The former two-time Finals MVP and Kia MVP winner enters the offseason as perhaps the biggest name on the market alongside the Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, the Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard and Durant's Warriors teammate, Klay Thompson. Durant has long been expected to draw interest on the open market from a number of teams with salary cap room.
Durant suffered a ruptured right Achilles in Game 5 of The Finals and the timetable for his return date is unknown. He got hurt on a dribble on the right wing, coming up lame on a crossover move and falling to the floor. He grabbed the back of his leg, appeared to grab below the calf and more toward the Achilles area, and needed help to limp to the bench area and more help to get back to the Warriors' locker room. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was on Durant's left side as they made the long walk back to the room, with Warriors GM Bob Myers and Curry in the group immediately behind them.
Players have made comebacks off Achilles surgery, with relative levels of success.
This is Durant's first serious injury since the 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, when a fracture in his right foot ultimately limited him to 27 games. In October of 2014, he suffered a "Jones fracture" in his foot and had surgery that sidelined him until December of that year. He played off and on for the next two months before he was shut down for the season to have a third surgery on the fractured bone in his foot.
Since joining the Warriors in the summer of 2016, Durant has been mostly healthy. He missed 19 straight games in his first season with Golden State because of a strained MCL in his left knee. He missed two first-round playoff games in 2017 as well because of a strained left calf muscle, but was healthy the rest of the way en route to his first Finals MVP honors and first NBA championship.
This season, Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 32.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.5 apg and 1 bpg.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.