Kevin Durant has every intention of returning to the Golden State Warriors next season. And why wouldn’t he? He’s about to win his second title in as many years. He also accepted about $10 million below his max salary to facilitate returns for Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. Leaving this summer, after declining his player option, would be weird.
At the same, in speaking with USA Today‘s Sam Amick, he acknowledged that anything can happen:
“Yeah, yeah,” Durant said when asked if he would be back for next season. “I feel as though (I am). Everything, the money and stuff that’s got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn’t plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I’ve been a part of this league for so long now.”
I’m not quite sure what Durant means with his “anything can happen” reference. Like, he’s not wrong. But his return will not be impeded by the Warriors. Even if LeBron James wants to play for them and they cannot hash out an opt-in-and-trade without eating into the Core Four, they’re more likely to dangle Draymond Green or Klay Thompson than him.
Really, then, the onus is on Durant. He would be the “anything can happen” wild card. And short of the Warriors refusing to offer him the max (related: LOL), he doesn’t have a real reason to leave. Not yet. Maybe he misses being the sole face of a franchise, but this still feels like a situation he’ll ride out for more than two years. So while anything can, in fact, happen during the NBA’s offseason, Durant’s exit appears to fall well outside the realm of possibility.