When Kevin Durant suffered what would turn out to be a ruptured Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, it severely complicated his upcoming free agency. As the prize of the 2019 class, Durant will now miss the entirety of the 2019-2020 season after undergoing successful surgery, and there will be questions about just how much of his explosiveness he’ll be able to recoup when he returns.
Rumors have long pointed Durant’s compass toward New York, and his interest in playing for the Knicks has been reported for months. Though Golden State remains a top contender to re-sign Durant, they’re also reportedly exploring another avenue in case Durant declines to return to the Bay Area.
During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday, Brian Windhorst said the Warriors have been having internal discussions about re-signing Durant to the five-year max, then working with him to execute a trade.
“One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he could get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded,” Windhorst said. “Potentially to New York, potentially to somewhere else. It would be their way to sort of take care of him monetarily after what he just went through and also protect the franchise and get some assets.”
Executing this kind of sign-and-trade would require some trust on Durant’s part. He’d have to remain confident in a handshake agreement that the Warriors would ship him to the team he desired. There’s also the question of whether Durant would want to spend his time rehabbing with the Warriors after the debacle he just went through. But if Durant wants that $57 million extra that he can only get by re-signing for the max with Golden State, this would be the way to do it.