Kevin Durant tried to play through an injury and it may have cost him big time, and in the process altered the landscape of the entire NBA offseason.
Durant suited up for the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA finals against the Toronto Raptors and suffered an achilles injury in the second quarter of the Warriors 106-105 win.
It looked like a gunshot went off in KDs calf. pic.twitter.com/ltVYcBglkF
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 11, 2019
Super slow-mo replays showed what appeared to be a ripple in his calf with many speculating that Durant may have ruptured his achilles tendon. Warriors president Bob Myers confirmed the achilles injury but not the extent in an emotional news conference after the game.
"It's an Achilles injury. … He'll have an MRI tomorrow."
Bob Myers holds back tears as he explains the magnitude of Kevin Durant's injury. pic.twitter.com/glQ6j5hATe
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019
If it is a ruptured achilles then Durant could miss all of next season. Beyond that there is no telling what kind of player he might be when he returns as this type of injury is devastating for basketball players.
This could have an enormous impact on 2019 free agency. Durant is on the first leg of a 1 plus 1 deal with Golden State. It was believed he would opt out and sign elsewhere after the season with the Knicks considered heavy favorites to land him AND possible Kyrie Irving.
But if Durant is out next year will a team sign him to a MAX deal knowing he’ll be out for all 2019-2020 season and with no certainty he’ll be the same guy when he does come back?
Durant could choose to opt in to the final year of his deal with the Golden State Warriors then enter free agency in 2020. Not a bad option to collect a guaranteed $31.5 million to recover and rehab ahead of free agency the following season.
It’s possible a team like the Knicks or Nets could still sign KD to a long term Max deal and just wait him out. However that comes with a lot of risk. In addition, would one of those teams be able to convince a second super star (looking at you Kyrie) to join them knowing that they’d be throwing away all of next season waiting for Durant to return?
From Irving’s perspective if his plan was all along to team up with Durant and head to New York or possibly Brooklyn you have to wonder whether that’s still his best option.
Theoretically Irving could do the same as KD and opt in to his final year with the Celtics, run it back and see if last season’s issues can be fixed. Then if not become a free agent in 2020.
Or, Irving could opt out and sign a max deal with Boston who could in turn go hard after the Pelicans Anthony Davis.
So many possibilities and even more unknowns. But one thing is certain. Durant’s injury has changed everything.