Even if Kevin Durant is forced to sit out all of next season after the Achilles injury he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, he should still make $31.5 million. That’s because Durant still has a player option he can exercise to stick with the Warriors for 2019-20.
Now, the injury can still pose major problems long-term, but the point of bringing up Durant’s situation isn’t to absolve anyone for green-lighting him to play when he clearly wasn’t ready to go against the Raptors.
It’s about Kyrie Irving.
As soon as the Durant went down with the injury, it was easy to speculate it was an Achilles problem — it’s even easier once when you’ve watched the video in slow motion half-a-dozen times and get a diagnosis from the Twitter doctors.
Kevin Durant appears to aggravate his calf injury and heads to the locker room early in the second quarter. pic.twitter.com/VXu3SmTS8Y
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019
But for anyone who has any opinion about the Celtics, Nets or Knicks, this had to get the wheels turning. Because now there’s no way Durant plays anywhere but Golden State next season.
This puts Irving in an odd spot, assuming the rumors he wanted to partner up with Durant on either the Nets or Knicks were true. In Stephen A. Smith’s latest report on ESPN’s “First Take,” he said Irving favored Brooklyn over New York, but could be persuaded by Durant to play for the Knicks.
So if the mess with Durant is bad news in the long-term for anyone other than Durant, it’s the Knicks. Because now they may have lost out on him and Irving — unless New York finds a way to land Anthony Davis, which is one of the two teams he’s looking to stay with for the long haul.
Then I saw this idea floating around: Irving could sign a one-and-one deal with the Celtics. That’s the same type of deal Durant currently has with the Warriors — one-year deal with a player option for a second year.
No. No way.
If the Celtics signed Irving to a one-and-one deal, then brought Davis in for a year, yes, there’s a chance they retain them both. But we’re talking Lloyd Christmas and Mary Swanson odds here.
That being said, if Irving says he wants two years or more, bring him back. He’s too good to turn down with the guarantee of multiple seasons in green. But if he can’t commit to more than one guaranteed season, Danny Ainge needs to move on. Otherwise, Boston will be in the same spot it’s in now — perhaps without some important pieces currently on the roster.