Kevin Durant Declines Player Option, Will Become Free Agent

by June 26, 2019
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Kevin Durant has declined his 2019-20 player option with the Golden State Warriors, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. He’ll officially become an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

Although the decision is a mere formality, it does technically rule out one possible scenario that had been floated in the wake of Durant’s Achilles injury in the NBA Finals: that the superstar could opt into his $31.5 million option for next season and then rehab with the Warriors franchise before hitting free agency in 2020.

With that option now off the table, Durant will hit unrestricted free agency as normal, with no shortage of teams willing to offer max money despite the fact that he’s unlikely to suit up in 2019-20.

Earlier this month, we discussed a report that Golden State could offer both Durant and their other superstar pending free agent Klay Thompson max contracts. For Durant, a 10-year-veteran, that’s a five-year pact worth approximately $220 million, substantially more than he could attract on the open market because of the additional year and increased raises Golden State can offer.

We have since seen the possibility of Durant and the Warriors pursuing something resembling a delayed sign-and-trade approach, in which Golden State would offer the 30-year-old top dollar, allow him to rehabilitate from his injury with the organization that he’s played for over the past three seasons, and then possibly move him to another team in a trade at a later date.

We have since seen the possibility of Durant and the Warriors pursuing something resembling a delayed sign-and-trade approach, in which Golden State would offer the 30-year-old top dollar, allow him to rehabilitate from his injury with the organization that he’s played for over the past three seasons, and then possibly move him to another team in a trade at a later date.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic has since pumped the breaks on that idea, citing concerns over salary cap circumvention as one of the many red flags that could jeopardize such am ambitious solution.

Not long after Durant suffered his Achilles injury, The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported that both New York teams and both Los Angeles teams remain as enthusiastic about signing Durant as ever.

The question, then, is which of those teams could make a compelling enough offer for Durant at a time when their own efforts to recruit a co-star for the former MVP are limited by the fact that Durant will miss the 2019-20 campaign.