The Golden State Warriors are “bracing” for Kevin Durant’s potential departure in free agency next summer, according to a report from the Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II.
Durant signed a two-year deal with the Warriors worth $61.5 million in July, including a player option for the second season.
From Thompson (via NESN):
“I’ve talked to people in the franchise about this. Not for this piece but just through various conversations. Some I’ve sought out, some have sought out me. All of them have the same kind of undercurrent: we hope he stays, but wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves.
The same franchise that was willing to dump everything to get him is now unofficially bracing for his departure. There is a vibe. There is a sense of ‘this is possible so let’s be mentally ready.’ Of course, that makes sense. Who wants to get their hopes up to be crushed? But the hunches and guesses that Durant might leave seem stronger now than they’ve ever been.”
There has been a lot of speculation league-wide that Durant could opt to walk away from the Warriors after the season, especially if the team wins their third consecutive championship. Durant has neither confirmed or denied such speculation, but he did say that he plans to be honest when discussing his free agency next summer.
“Just be honest,” Durant said, via ESPN. “I was honest with my decision, but just like outwardly if people ask me about it, don’t be ashamed to talk about why I decided to move teams and switch teams because it’s not the end of the world. I didn’t do anything against the law, you know what I’m saying? That’s what I thought happened the first time.”
Though Durant knows that his upcoming free agency will be a topic of conversation over the course of the season, he plans to stay focused on the task at hand.
“I dealt with it before,” Durant said. “I just try to be as honest as I can. I’m not going to tell people what I’m thinking. … Some days I think about my free agency, some days I don’t. Some days I think about what my future looks like, some days I don’t. I’m just human. That’s just natural for me. But I can’t sit down and talk to people about it because I want to keep playing, I want to focus on the season.
“So I know the questions are going to come. I know a lot of people are going to speculate and print rumors and sources, but nobody’s heard from me about anything, so it’s just all speculation at this point… I’m here. I’m 100 percent committed to this team this year and going as hard as I can every single day to be the best player that I can be to help this team win.”
Just like there was a whole lot of speculation throughout last season about where LeBron James would sign in free agency, we can expect a similar situation regarding Durant this season.