by Jesse Liptzin, special to NYSportsDay
The NBA Finals are coming to an end with Game 6 in Oracle set to be played tonight. There have been plenty of storylines setting the stage for who is soon to be champion. However, Kevin Durant has taken a lot of the spotlight despite playing a combined 12 minutes in the series. Granted, his caliber of play does make him one of the best in the NBA; it is worth noticing the Warriors are not the only team feeling his absence. Durant is coming up on an offseason free agency where New York fans were hoping he would land with their struggling New York Knicks.
Even though fans hadn’t heard much from the Knicks front office, they were still aware Durant was a prime target to receive one of their two available max contracts. Now with injuries that have sidelined him for the entirety of the Western Conference Finals and most of the NBA Championships it’s hard to say where he will end up. This injury to the Achilles is notorious for lingering long after recovery and can be detrimental to his future, making his abilities and durability an unknown for when he does return. The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted, “Golden State’s Kevin Durant is traveling to New York for doctor evaluations on his injured right Achilles tendon.” This quote is leaving all NBA fans curious for what it means for his future.
The Knicks weren’t the only team in pursuit of him this offseason. The Brooklyn Nets just announced a future trade with the Atlanta Hawks, sending them Allen Crabbe’s $18.5 million contract, allowing the Nets to free up cap space for a chance at the 10-time All-Star. Since the season has yet to conclude the trade won’t take effect until the conclusion of the season. NBC sports recently stated, “Brooklyn’s dream scenario is to lure Irving and Golden State’s Kevin Durant.” The network is of course, referencing Kyrie Irving, currently with the Boston Celtics, but the subject of rumors that he may be teaming up with Durant next season.
Another team in the hunt to try and add Durant is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers make a compelling case to land the two time MVP. In their series with the Warriors they went to game 6. They also have a great roster with cap room for a max contract as well as great coach in Doc Rivers. This would also keep Durant in the Western Conference where he has played the entirety of his career, including a stay in Oklahoma City.
With all these talks the Warriors are still trying to complete another championship run giving them the three peat. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has made it known they have one thing on their mind. “Our team has a lot of confidence,” he said after Durant was sidelined against the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs. The Warriors have been tested in each round of the playoffs, however their perseverance is not in question as they pursue another title which would be there fourth in five years of making the NBA finals. In spite of these trade rumors, it does not appear to be a factor or obstruction to the team’s on the court chemistry.
After the injury which occurred in Game 5 of the Finals, Durant spent June 10th in a hospital where he successfully had surgery on a ruptured Achilles. The rumor mill is churning as now talks of the Knicks focusing Kawhi and they may have changed their mind on wanting Durant to play in New York. Never the less this free agency is full of unknowns. The one thing we can count on is the potential excitement that will take place this off-season, as New York and Brooklyn fans hope and pray for a big signing.