2019 Free Agency Briefing: Kevin Durant

by June 29, 2019
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Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors

UPDATE 8:30 pm:

Durant still intends to sign with the Nets, though if he decides to pull a DeAndre Jordan and change his mind, it doesn’t appear that it will be to sign with the Knicks. Owner James Dolan was reportedly not prepared to offer Durant a full-max deal, citing concerns about the former MVP’s Achilles injury.

In related news, Durant’s long-time friend DeAndre Jordan will also sign with the Nets.

UPDATE 6:00 pm: Kevin Durant plans to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. The deal is expected to be for four years and $164 million. The Nets will need to make subsequent moves to make the numbers work. We’ll publish those as we get them. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports the signing could potentially morph into a sign-and-trade deal.

Kevin Durant will speak with four teams once free agency opens. The Nets, Knicks, Clippers, and Warriors will engage with the former MVP. The former MVP is expected to announce his decision on the first day of free agency via his own sports business network.

You can go ahead and follow The Boardroom on Instagram now. Or keep your eyes glued to SLAM Newswire, who will try to make sense of his decision as soon as humanly possible.

Below we’ve summarized and outlined various reports that have come in about the superstar’s potential landing spot. Other teams may be interested in Durant but these are the teams that we feel have the most traction.

As news breaks and we learn more about where Durant stands regarding free agency, we’ll update this briefing. Similarly, if other teams appear to gain ground in their own pursuit of Durant, we’ll add them here.

TeamProjected Salary CapMeeting?
Brooklyn Nets$32,665,942Reported
Golden State Warriors$0 Scheduled
Los Angeles Clippers Clippers$52,928,034Reported
New York Knicks$35,617,815Reported

Golden State Warriors

Salary Cap Room: $0

The Warriors are open to giving Durant any contract he wants even after the Achilles injury. The team will reportedly start with a five-year, $221M max offer at the start of free agency.

Kevin Durant’s Max Salary Options
SeasonNew TeamWarriors
2019-20$38,199,000$38,199,000
2020-21$40,108,950$41,254,920
2021-22$42,114,398$44,555,314
2022-23$44,220,117$48,119,739
2023-24$51,969,318
Total$164,642,465$224,098,291

They reportedly are even open to a “delayed” sign-and-trade where they give Durant the full, five-year max and trade him wherever he chooses later. Such an arrangement might draw ire within the league.

Three years ago, the Warriors successfully convinced Durant to come to Golden State and Stephen Curry was among those who presented the official free agency pitch. Curry will again be there when Bob Myer & Co. visit Durant and his inner circle in New York. Klay Thompson will FaceTime in while Draymond Green will not be in attendance for the pitch.

Los Angeles Clippers

Salary Cap Room: $52,928,034*

Steve Ballmer & Co. will hope the lure of Los Angeles and a great basketball situation will convince Durant to sign with the Clippers. The franchise hopes to convince both Durant and Kawhi Leonard to join the team, though signing either would be a win for the organization.

As mentioned in the Kawhi Leonard breakdown, the Clippers do not yet have the cap space to sign two stars. They can, however, carve out the cap room by making easy moves such as renouncing free agents rights and/or moving one of their guaranteed deals.

Brooklyn Nets

Salary Cap Room: $32,655,942*

The Nets are on Durant’s list and if he and Kyrie Irving are going to team up anywhere it will be Brooklyn after the Nets reportedly hone in on a max deal with the point guard.

The Nets don’t technically have enough cap room to sign Durant with Irving in the fold even if we assume the team renounces the rights to D’Angelo Russell (the above figure assumes just that). It’s worth noting that Russell’s cap hold remains on the books, as the team is willing to work a sign-and-trade out with a team if Russell wants to go to a place that doesn’t have cap room for him.

Brooklyn can get roughly $1 million away from max cap space for a player with Durant’s experience by renouncing the rights to Ed Davis–again assuming Russell is gone. Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham each have non-guaranteed salary for next season and GM Sean Marks can easily carve out the $38.2 million needed for Durant’s max by waiving both players and renouncing Davis. The Nets could also renounce the rights to Theo Pinson in place of waiving one of those guards, though there is no reason for the franchise to do anything until they have a commitment from Durant (or another max player).

There were rumblings that the Nets were the favorites to sign Durant over the last week but Ian Begley of SNY.tv shot those down. Only Durant and those close to him have an idea of what he’s going to do.

Durant hasn’t formally set up meetings outside of the one with the Warriors, so it’s possible that Durant’s decision drags out past the moratorium and Irving (assuming he officially signs on July 6) is present for the Nets’ pitch. However, It seems likely that Durant’s meeting(s) with the Nets happen before that. It’s been reported that he’ll at least speak with teams, possibly not in person, once free agency officially begins.

New York Knicks

Salary Cap Room: $35,757,815

The Knicks have long been rumored to be Durant’s preference. Durant spending much of his time since the season ended in New York and him holding his free agency meetings there have done nothing to cool down the speculation that he’ll sign with James Dolan’s team.

New York expects to meet with Durant early in free agency. It’s unclear if Durant signing with the Knicks comes with a contingency of another star joining him. Rumors of him discussing teaming up with Leonard and Irving have swirled.

Regardless of which team Durant picks, a full max deal is expected for him. His Achilles injury will force him to sit out a year but an NBA club will happily sign up for a redshirt season and then three years with a player some considered the best in the world before the injury.

Related: 2019 Free Agency Briefing: Jimmy Butler
Related: 2019 Free Agency Briefing: Kawhi Leonard