As Kevin Durant begins his lengthy rehab from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, his long-awaited free agency is on the horizon.
It long has been expected that the two-time NBA Finals MVP would leave the Warriors after this season, perhaps for the bright lights of New York. But after the devastating injury, his future has become much more uncertain.
While it has been reported that the Achilles injury wouldn't stop teams from offering him the max contract, there has been very little information leaking out about which teams might be willing to sign him and wait a season to see him suit up.
However, ESPN's Brian Windhorst dropped some information Thursday morning on "Get Up!", noting that the Warriors have thought about what would be a delayed sign-and-trade with the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
"So, the Durant situation is still in flux," Windhorst said. "One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract -- $57 million more than he could get signing elsewhere -- let him rehab, and then work with him to be traded, potentially to New York, potentially to somewhere else. It would be their way to sort of take care of him monetarily after what he just went through and also protect the franchise to get some assets. If that happens, the Knicks would be in a tremendous position to get back into this because they have those young assets plus cap space.
"For lack of a better term, it would be a delayed sign and trade," Windhorst continued. "Because this is the only way Durant can get five years and play elsewhere. And I'll just be honest with you, the Warriors going to this is a bit of a last-ditch effort to not lose Kevin Durant for nothing, and what he would get out of it would be an extra $57 million coming off of a devastating injury. Now, you'd have to trust the Warriors that they would work with you in a trade, but it's something that has at least been discussed as an option."
Jay Williams, who is a close friend of Durant, also was on the show and he said he believes this idea is feasible, although he said he doesn't believe KD would rehab with the Warriors.
Honestly, if Durant is indeed planning on leaving the Dubs regardless of the injury, this deal would make the most sense for both sides. It allows the Warriors to save face and potentially recruit Durant during his rehab year, and if he decides to leave then you can get something in return.
For Durant, it allows him to get the maximum contract he deserves, and also might lessen the pressure he could feel to return from injury as soon as possible in order to play with a new team.
Buckle up, NBA free agency is going to be a ride.