Updated: Feb 29
Kevin Durant and his injured calf made its return to the #NBAFinals Game 5. Inserted back in the starting line up, it looked like everything surrounding this injury was behind him. Throwing down dunks in warm ups and hopping up off his chair in the pregame announcements Durant looked like he was back to his old self.
12 minutes, 11 points and a perfect 3-3 from 3 point range, it was clear this was going to be a statement game for the Slim Reaper and with just over 2 minutes played in the second quarter, Kevin Durant makes a move on Serge Ibaka that puts him on the floor. The look on his face said it all, frustrated and disappointed he knew it was something that is going to keep him out for some extended time, for the NBA's sake hopefully not all of next season.
Which brings me to my main point of focus. This injury has already impacted the #NBA. The #Clippers and #Nets are making moves to free up cap space to bring him and a friend to become part of the playoff picture and Championship contenders. The #Knicks traded away Kristaps Porzingis to shed his and Tim Hardaway Jr's contracts to free up the space to be able to sign two max free agents.
Kyrie Irving will no doubt be the most impacted by this injury given the narrative that he and Durant were supposed to team up with the Knicks or Nets or any number of teams. #KD seemed to be the lynchpin in the #KyrieIrving destination sweepstakes and without him I wonder who is ready to hand the keys to #UncleDrew as the face of their franchise.
Do the Nets pair him with DLo? Do the Lakers reunite him and #LeBron with a major trade for #AD? Do the Knicks have enough faith in him to lead the 17 win bottom dwellers to more wins and a playoff appearance with just as much youth as the team he is leaving but less veteran talent? My guess is yes, someone will pay the man and he will deserve every penny of what he makes. Does he deliver on taking a team to contend for the Chip... I doubt it.
I'm not really convinced that The Knicks - my main focus- have a plan B now that the future of Durant is so uncertain. It has been such a foregone conclusion that Durant was making his way to the Big Apple that we have had very limited chatter or sights set on other stars like Kawhi that would provide a noticeable jump in talent. Not to say that Kyrie or Kemba would not be an upgrade but they are definitely not the savior of the organizations that they are on... or the one they'd be coming to.
My money is on Durant staying in Golden State to rehab with his guaranteed money and hitting the market next year where he will basically be the only game in town, with the exception of Draymond Green being the only other notable free agent in the pool.
Here's to the Knicks drafting and not trading RJ Barrett and building through the draft and creating superstars, not leveraging the farm for one guy who MIGHT stay healthy and make an impact.