The Golden State Warriors and star forward Kevin Durant both suffered massive ups and downs during Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night.
Making his first appearance in over a month, Durant came out strong with 11 points in the first quarter. Golden State ultimately avoided elimination with a stirring one-point win over the Raptors, sending this series back to Oakand for Game 6.
In the midst of this, Durant went down to injury early in the second quarter. The Warriors believe it’s a torn Achilles with MRI results slated for late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
From a micro perspective, this changes the entire dynamic of Durant’s impending free agency. Whether he was slated to leave Golden State in free agency remains to be seen. But with Durant now likely out all of next season, things have altered dramatically.
According to this report from Frank Isola of The Athletic, Golden State had the parameters of a contract offer hashed out to Durant prior to this injury.
“According to a source, the Warriors were going to pitch Durant on signing long term, with the understanding that if he wanted to leave at any point during his contract the team would grant him that wish,” the report noted. “That could still be in the works even with Durant likely to sit out most if not all of next season.”
The Warriors were apparently willing to give Durant an ability to request a trade at any point during the contract extension. Despite KD suffering the devastating injury, the hope is that Golden State remains true to its word and offers him the super-max deal.
Durant can earn $221 million over five seasons is he were to re-sign with the Warriors. If the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP were to sign elsewhere, the most he can earn is $164 million over four seasons.
Now that he’s facing a long rehab and likely won’t be playing until his age-32 season, Durant might think long and hard about taking Golden State up on this offer. In turn, the Warriors would be smart from both an internal and perception standpoint to keep this offer on the table.