The Kevin Durant contract with the Golden State Warriors is going to be a hot topic in the coming weeks. Durant has a player option that he could decide to use in order to remain a member of the team.
On Monday night, Durant returned to the court for Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. It appears that he was rushed back from his injury, though, as he tore his Achilles tendon in the second quarter.
It’s now possible that Durant could miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season while he rehabs the injury. It raises a number of questions about his contract status and if he will decide to stay with the Warriors.
The Kevin Durant contract
Durant signed a two-year deal with the Warriors during the past NBA offseason. That deal was designed to pay him $61.5 million over two seasons, with a player option slated for the 2019-20 campaign.
It had always been assumed that Durant would opt out of his deal with the Warriors in order to see what free agency might hold in store for him.
That possible scenario led to rumors of teams like the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Dallas Mavericks trying to sign him.
NBA rumors and pending free agency
There are a lot of tough choices ahead for Durant. Will he decide to stay with the Warriors despite the fact that he could miss most of the next NBA campaign?
It’s possible that he could return late in the season or in time for the 2020 NBA Playoffs if the rehab goes well.
Warriors GM Bob Myers in tears explaining that Kevin Durant has an Achilles injury and will get an MRI tomorrow. I showed Steph Curry this video in the locker room – he began tearing up as well, went to find Bob, then hugged him. pic.twitter.com/kklInlOmEP
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 11, 2019
There is also a risk to Durant tarnishing his legacy if he decides to opt into his deal with the Warriors. The smart move, financially, would be the stick with the contract, even if he might miss most of the games next season.
If he were to opt for free agency, it would be a huge pay cut for him.
DeMarcus Cousins went through a similar situation, but he was a free agent right after he tore his Achilles. The Warriors then offered him a contract that included a hefty discount so he could prove he hadn’t lost a step.
At the end of the day, the next Kevin Durant contract can’t happen until the option in the first one is addressed.
If Durant opts to stick with the Warriors, he will earn $31.5 million for the 2019-20 NBA season.