What was already set to be one of the most consequential summers in NBA history now has a brand new element with the catastrophic Achilles injury for Kevin Durant. He was lined up to be the top free agent on the market and the ultimate prize in an offseason that could see a host of great players change places including Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson.
Now, there are many questions between what he will do next and how that will affect the other teams that were waiting to make their pitch.
Here are three ways Durant's injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals could change the upcoming offseason...
Durant could and probably should take his player option
Durant has a strong back-up plan in place with a $31.5 million player option for the 2019-20 season. With a rehab that may last a full year, he could just stay with the Warriors and possibly make his return next year during the playoffs. Or, he could just sit out the year entirely and set himself up for 2020 free agency.
As long as he feels comfortable letting the Warriors' medical staff oversee his recovery, it would make a lot of sense. The alternative would be trusting a staff from another team that he doesn't know to handle his rehab. That would present many unknowns.
If Durant does choose that route, and stays in Golden State, it will take the No. 1 free agent off the market. Durant was the best player set to be available and getting him wouldn't require trading assets like it will for Davis. Teams like the Knicks, Nets and Clippers were all expected to make big plays for Durant. The best they can hope now is that he still elects free agency and they punt the first year on a long-term extension.
The Pelicans now have even more leverage
Whether Durant leaves the Warriors or not, the fact he is out long-term shifts the focus even more towards Davis. Now, Davis is arguably the best player available and that will absolutely be the case if Leonard signs a new deal to stay with the Toronto Raptors.
Davis' stock was already high and now he will be in even more demand for star hungry teams looking to win now. Many believe the Knicks had dreams of getting both Davis and Durant. Now the odds are higher they miss out on at least one of them, if not both.
What will the Knicks do?
New York is the most fascinating team to watch in all of this. If Durant isn't an option, there is more pressue for them to get Davis.
That pressure was put on by them going all in on this offseason by trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks to clear cap room. They were hoping to load up this offseason and right now those plans aren't working out too well.
They already lost out in the draft lottery and their hopes of getting a top-two pick. Now Durant may be off the board, too.
If they don't get Davis and Kyrie Irving signs with someone else, like the nearby Nets, the Knicks will not have very many options to turn to.
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