Kevin Durant may still be the most sought after free agent in this year’s class, but that doesn’t mean the NBA landscape didn’t change when he went down with a ruptured achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
No one wants to see one of the best players in the game go down with an injury, especially one that could very well rob him of a year of his career (unless you’re a Toronto Raptors fan), but we still have to look at the potential ripple effects throughout the league.
There have been plenty of teams who have come forward saying they still fully intend on pursuing Kevin Durant this off-season, so the injury is not expected to affect his market but it might for those planning around him.
The impending free agency of Kyrie Irving has been looming over the Boston Celtics’ heads for months and right as many fans were willing to submit their orders for a Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets jersey, the man rumored to join him collapses and is likely to miss the entirety of the 2019-2020 NBA season.
If Kyrie had his heart set on going to Brooklyn and competing for a championship right away, that dream is gone, or at least put on hold for another season.
If Durant’s injury truly does have an effect on Irving’s decision to leave the Boston Celtics, this doesn’t open the door for a long term deal. What would most likely happen is that Kyrie would re-sign with the Celtics on a two year contract with the second having a player-option similar to what LeBron did in Cleveland and what Durant has done in Golden State.
A re-signing like this would force Danny Ainge into taking a chance on an Anthony Davis trade in hopes that removing the logjam that plagued the Boston Celtics all season would be enough to push the franchise toward legitimate title contention and long-term commitments from the two All-NBA players.