Warriors

Kevin Durant refused to tell Kendrick Perkins about free-agency plans

Kevin Durant refused to tell Kendrick Perkins about free-agency plans

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant were teammates in Oklahoma City for three whole seasons and parts of two others.

They played in the 2012 NBA Finals together.

On many occasions over the years, KD has said that Perkins is one of his favorite teammates ever.

"I'm real close friends with KD," Perkins said Tuesday on ESPN's "The Jump." "We talk on the regular but we never talk about basketball -- we always talk about personal things."

But because they are so close, Perkins went for it and inquired about what the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP is thinking in regards to his free-agency plans.

"I asked him the other day for the first time. I'm like, 'Hey KD man, give me a little insight on what's going on. Is you leaving?'

"He's like, 'Hey Perk, you know we don't talk about that type of stuff man.' He kinda got in his feelings about it."

[RELATEDKD hasn't yet made free-agency decision, and here's why]

Well this certainly is interesting. Should we speculate on what "kinda got in his feelings" might mean? No thanks.

But additionally, Perkins said that he believes Durant will leave the Warriors in July.

"I feel like he's done what he needed to do in Golden State. He won a couple rings and it's always gonna be Steph's team. I think now it's time for KD to move on for it to be Kevin's team."

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Lakers' Anthony Davis trade starts arms race to take Warriors' crown

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USATSI

Lakers' Anthony Davis trade starts arms race to take Warriors' crown

The Warriors have grown accustomed to being the hunted over the last half-decade.

Over that span, the rest of the NBA has been in an arms race to catch them, to no avail. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Golden State achieved the greatest five-year run in NBA history. 

Now, after the Warriors’ 2019 NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors and injuries to Durant and Thompson, the rest of the league is primed to permanently end the dynasty.

The latest example comes out of Los Angeles, where the Lakers — who will open their preseason against the Warriors on Oct. 5 in the first game in San Francisco's Chase Center — reportedly have traded for superstar Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, shipping out Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's draft.

More intriguing, the team could have between $27 million and $32 million in salary-cap space to potentially use on a free agency pool that includes Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker.

The Warriors aren’t strangers to arms races against them, most notably from the Houston Rockets, who admittedly obsessed with the Warriors, traded for Chris Paul in 2017 to achieve common footing. More recently, with James out of the Eastern Conference, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri traded for Kawhi Leonard, a move that ultimately dethroned the Warriors two days ago.

However, the Lakers' move comes at a unique time of peril for the Warriors. Entering free agency, their two top targets — Durant and Thompson — will be expected to sit out most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season with major rehabilitation timetables. Both players are expected to command maximum salary slots, so if both re-sign, the Warriors will enter next season with two top players on the bench and little cap space to use on improvements.

It's appropriate that the Lakers are the first team this summer to make a move toward championship consideration. For the last half-century, the franchise was everything the Warriors dynasty currently is. A healthy, star-driven franchise had the likes of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant donning its colors, helping the franchise win 15 titles.

However, since 2013, the Lakers haven’t reached the playoffs, building a reputation for more off-court drama than on-court wins. Two months ago, Johnson — the team's vice president of basketball operations — abruptly stepped down before the team's season finale, citing trust issues with general manager Rob Pelinka.

Now, with the addition of Davis, the Lakers could be back to contending for titles. With their cap space, they can bring at least one more near-max player on the roster.

[RELATED: Vegas makes Lakers favorites to win NBA title]

As for the Warriors, more questions linger. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney will be free agents, and the team must decide whether to extend a qualifying offer to second-year big man Jordan Bell. Worse, of the players with All-Star experience, only Curry and Green will be expected full participants when training camp opens in September.

Following Thursday's season-ending loss, Green said it wouldn't be smart to count out the Warriors, citing their championship pedigree. Time will tell whether his words will ring true, but as the Lakers proved Saturday, the rest of the league is coming for their crown.

NBA odds: Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade makes them title favorites in Vegas

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AP

NBA odds: Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade makes them title favorites in Vegas

Things in the NBA change quickly.

For five years, the Warriors had a vice grip on the Larry O'Brien Trophy. But that's no longer the case, based on the events of the last week.

Kevin Durant is out for the 2019-20 season with a ruptured right Achilles. Klay Thompson will miss a majority of the season with a torn left ACL. The Toronto Raptors now are NBA champions.

And Anthony Davis reportedly is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite the fact that the Lakers didn't make the playoffs this past season, Vegas now is giving Los Angeles the best odds to win the 2019-20 NBA title.

SportsBookUSA has the Lakers as 3/1 favorites to win next year's title. The Warriors, with all the uncertainty surrounding them, have 12/1 odds to win their fourth title in six years.

[RELATED: Why Warriors won't walk away from KD, Klay]

If the Lakers are able to sign free-agent point guard Kemba Walker, reportedly their next “top target,” their odds of winning the title likely will grow.