Kevin Durant might be a Warrior for just a few more months, but he hopes to always be a part of the franchise.
The Warriors star can opt out of his contract and become a free agent at the end of this season. Durant has openly admitted that he hasn't made his free-agency decision. But even if he does leave the Bay Area this summer, he would do so as one of the most decorated players in franchise history, especially if he helps the team win another NBA championship before exiting.
As the Warriors' impressive run rolls on, the thought of the dynasty's core all having their numbers retired at Chase Center when the time comes has been discussed, as has the possibility of having a statue erected to commemorate the once-in-a-generation stretch.
While some expect Durant will pack up his things and leave the Warriors for a new challenge, the two-time NBA Finals MVP still would love to see his No. 35 hanging in the Chase Center rafters, no matter how long his Golden State career lasts.
“Most definitely,” Durant told The Undefeated's Marc Spears. “If you put a Durant ‘35’ jersey in any NBA arena coming from where I come from … that is why that stuff is important to me, because my family name will be here after I am dead. To have that hanging in the arena with one of the best franchises in sports, hell, yeah, that’s a goal.”
No matter when Durant's run in the Bay ends -- whether it be this summer or in five years -- there should be little doubt the Warriors will honor him by hanging his jersey in the rafters one day.
Yes, the Warriors' run technically began before his arrival, but Durant has taken the franchise to a whole different level. Despite his occasionally combative personality, Durant has put the team first in a way few stars of his caliber would. From facilitating the offense to closing out NBA Finals games against LeBron James, Durant has done everything that's been asked of him on the court, and the Warriors have prospered as a result.
If Durant chooses to leave the Warriors for the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers or another unknown team, he'll do so having been a key cog in one of the most dominant runs in professional sports. And he has the opportunity to add another impressive line to his Warriors résumé if he helps lead the franchise to another title while claiming a third consecutive NBA Finals MVP award.
Last time I checked, you get your jersey retired for that.