Wizards

Quick Links

Three ways Kevin Durant's devastating injury could affect NBA free agency

durant-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Three ways Kevin Durant's devastating injury could affect NBA free agency

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.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS

Quick Links

NBA reportedly close to televising a HORSE competition while players are in isolation

NBA reportedly close to televising a HORSE competition while players are in isolation

While we wait for the 2019-20 NBA season to return from suspension, the league may have found another way to entertain us. 

Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBA was working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition featuring several high-profile players. 

In this case, players would shoot by themselves, presumably at their homes, and go shot-for-shot with other players remotely. The great thing about H-O-R-S-E is all you need to be able to do is shoot, leaving the door open for former players like Paul Pierce to get in on the fun. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the NBA and ESPN's deal to televise H-O-R-S-E is nearing completion with a number of NBA stars on board to compete, per Wojnarowski. Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine are expected to participate while the competition will also include WNBA players and a few recent NBA alumni. 

This wouldn't be the first time we've seen NBA players playing H-O-R-S-E on television. Back in 2010, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and Omri Casspi played each other in H-O-R-S-E as a part of All-Star weekend. As you'd expect, Durant won. 

This follows the NBA kickstarting the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament Friday, where 16 NBA stars play each other in an NBA 2K20 tournament for charity. Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young and Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura headline the event that is expected to run until April 11. 

According to Woj, the details on the H-O-R-S-E competition are still being finalized with the league and ESPN, who'd ultimately air the event. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Jerry Stackhouse says he regrets time with Wizards, playing with Michael Jordan

Jerry Stackhouse says he regrets time with Wizards, playing with Michael Jordan

From an outside perspective, it seems like Jerry Stackhouse would have cherished his time with the Washington Wizards, as he was given the opportunity to share the floor with Michael Jordan, an admitted idol whom he was at times compared to as a 6-foot-6 star guard from the University of North Carolina.

But Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, views that time with deep regret. He looked back on those days on the latest episode of the 'Woj Pod' hosted by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and explained why he still isn't over the frustration he felt at the time.

"Honestly, I wish I never played in Washington and for a number of reasons," Stackhouse said. "I felt we were on our way in Detroit before I got traded there. It was really challenging to be able to be in a situation with an idol who at this particular point, I felt like I was a better player.

"Things were still being run through Michael Jordan," he continued. "[Head coach] Doug Collins, I love Doug, but I think that was an opportunity for him to make up for some ill moments that they may have had back in Chicago. So, pretty much everything that Michael wanted to do [we did]. We got off to a pretty good start and he didn't like the way the offense was running because it was running a little bit more through me. He wanted to get a little more isolations for him on the post, of course, so we had more isolations for him on the post. And it just kind of spiraled in a way that I didn't enjoy that season at all. The kind of picture I had in my mind of Michael Jordan and the reverence I had for him, I lost a little bit of it during the course of that year."

What made matters worse for Stackhouse is that his previous team, the Detroit Pistons, won a title in 2004, just two years after he left in a trade. The Wizards sent promising young guard Richard Hamilton to Detroit for Stackhouse in a six-player deal. Hamilton was the leading scorer on that Finals-winning team while playing the same position Stackhouse did.

"[Jordan] had a young guard there in Rip Hamilton, who I was traded for to Detroit, that he didn't feel like he could get it done with. So he was like, 'Let's go get Stackhouse, I know he's tougher and he can score, let's go bring him in here,'" Stackhouse said.

"Watching a team I helped kind of build a foundation for in Detroit go on to win a championship a couple years later, it left a bad taste in my mouth, so I was pretty happy to get out of Washington and get on to Dallas."

Stackhouse was traded by the Wizards in 2004 to the Mavericks in the deal that brought Antawn Jamison to D.C. Stackhouse would play five years in Dallas, only to see them win a title two years after he left. Two years later, he played for the Miami Heat, who would win a championship the year after he left there.

That's some bad timing on multiple accounts. Stackhouse feels like he missed out on a ring, but you could argue he missed out on several.

You can listen to the full interview with Stackhouse right here.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: