© Winslow Townson | 2019 Jan 26
Connor Letourneau, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Golden State Warriors beat writer, joined the Murph & Mac show Thursday morning to discuss Kevin Durant and the uncertainty regarding his future with the Warriors. He was direct with his prediction.
“I think he’s gone, yeah. I would put it at over 75 percent.” Letourneau said.
That is not what Warriors fans want to hear, but when free agency begins on July 1st, Letourneau believes that’s the hand the Warriors organization will be dealt.
Throughout the last nine months, it has been widely speculated that the New York Knicks are going to be the franchise that ultimately lands Durant. However, several reports in recent weeks indicated that the four teams in the KD sweepstakes are the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Warriors, with the Nets being the new frontrunner to land the superstar. Letourneau believes that the Nets have made sense all along.
“It feels like some people might think they kind of came out of nowhere because all the talk, like you said, was about the Knicks off season and just in the past few weeks really the Nets are emerging as the ‘front runner.’
“I think a lot of it is just the fact the reality is the Nets have always made sense from a basketball standpoint. They are in New York; they are in the major media market. They are in a state-of-the-art arena, they have good ownership, they have good pieces, they made the playoffs last year. They are in a situation where KD could come there and immediately lift them to relevance,” Letourneau said. “They are well positioned for that, especially if they get KD and Kyrie (Irving). You can imagine if they got both those guys they would immediately be a championship contender and that’s not necessarily the case with the Knicks, the Knicks have probably the most barren roster in the league, and they are a far away off from contention.”
Letourneau feels that Durant has maneuvered his focus to the city of New York. He also brought up what Kevin Durant is considering in regards to his next move, and what factors could weigh into his decision.
“It just seems like he has kind of zeroed in his sights on living in New York. I think at this stage in his life he wants to be in New York City. He just recently bought property in New York. My understanding is he has moved his belongings to New York. It’s looking like it’s going to be either the Nets or Knicks. I’ve been told he still is considering the Warriors, but I would feel those are the two most likely.
“With KD, everyone knows at this point that his ultimate goal in his next move is probably going to be to cement his legacy as the greatest player of his generation. And to do that he needs to win more titles as the No. 1 option. The Nets give him that best opportunity and its looking like Kyrie is leaning towards the Nets. I think the biggest reason you’re seeing them emerge is because all the speculation about Kyrie going there. And as we know Kyrie is KD’s best friend in life.”
As it has been widely reported, the main advantage the Warriors have with Durant is the ability to offer him an extra $57 million dollars more than any other team. Along with the financial aspect, Durant continuing his tenure with the Warriors could give them the opportunity to solidify themselves as one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time. Letourneau thinks that could play a factor, but isn’t sure how important that really is to KD.
“The case for the Warriors, the number one thing is the financial incentive. But also, he would have the chance to go down as a core member of the dynasty rather than just kind of a mercenary who came in for a couple years and helped out. I think there is something meaningful about that, but the truth is I’m not sure if that is what KD values.
“I don’t think that’s what KD wants, I think he wants to go somewhere and show everyone ‘look I can put a team on my back and lead them to a championship’ and that’s never going to happen with the Warriors. Steph (Curry) is not going anywhere, and Steph is this franchise, and he knows that. So, I think that is really what it comes down to. I think he is going to end up valuing that even over that money. I think he is a guy who cares a lot about what people think, he cares a lot about his legacy. Now that he is entering the back end of his prime, especially coming off an Achilles, he feels like this is his opportunity to cement that.”
Listen to the full interview with Connor Letourneau. To hear him discuss Kevin Durant’s free agency, start at 1:00.