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Report: Warriors bracing for Kevin Durant to leave next summer

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors attends a shootaround ahead of the team’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Kevin Durant could have earned more money the next two seasons by signing a 2+1 contract. Instead, he re-signed with the Warriors on another 1+1 deal. Why? The simplest answer: He values becoming a free agent next summer. For what it’s worth, Durant says he’s taking it “year by year.”

This has set off a deluge of speculation about Durant leaving Golden State, specifically for the Knicks.

The Warriors are pervious to it.

Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

I’ve talked to people in the franchise about this. Not for this piece but just through various conversations. Some I’ve sought out, some have sought out me. All of them have the same kind of undercurrent: we hope he stays, but wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves.

The same franchise that was willing to dump everything to get him is now unofficially bracing for his departure. There is a vibe. There is a sense of “this is possible so let’s be mentally ready.” Of course, that makes sense. Who wants to get their hopes up to be crushed? But the hunches and guesses that Durant might leave seem stronger now than they’ve ever been.

I appreciate Thompson’s reporting. It’s helpful that he explains what he knows and contextualizes it. Don’t turn it into something bigger than it is. But it’s still information worth knowing.

I think he’s onto something with the mental-self-preservation theory. Remember, some Warriors employees were unsure of Durant re-signing last summer even though he pledged to months before.

But it’s also possible people within the organization have seen not-publicly reported signs that point to Durant leaving. They’re positioned to know more, and that possibility makes this so intriguing.