While the NBA world keeps an eye toward the loaded 2019 free agent class, one of the biggest names that are expected to be available is Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant.
The two-time defending NBA champion and Finals MVP is expected to opt out of his player option that would pay him $31.5 million during the 2019-20 season. Instead, Durant would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this upcoming year.
Originally, many believed he would opt out just to renegotiate a larger deal with the Warriors. After all, you can’t find a much better place to play professional basketball than Golden State, a team that is in the midst of a dynastic run featuring All-Stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins.
That might not be the case though as Durant could be playing for a new team next season.
Kevin Durant to the Lakers?
A source told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson that Durant will be joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers next season.
“Just like LeBron planned his move to LA a year or more earlier, KD is doing the same right now,” the source told Robinson. “They want to form the best duo in the NBA and set up KD to be the face of the Lakers post-LeBron.”
The Lakers have suddenly transformed from rebuilding franchise to playoff contender after signing James over the summer. It is difficult to consider them a legitimate Finals contender though considering they play in a Western Conference that is loaded with the Warriors, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.
Adding Durant to the Lakers lineup though would help put them on or right around the same level as the Warriors and Rockets, especially if Kawhi Leonard heads to the Lakers after his one year with the Toronto Raptors.
Suddenly the Lakers are looking at a lineup that will feature Lonzo Ball, Leonard, James, Durant and Kyle Kuzma, not to mention Brandon Ingram.
Granted, the Lakers will have to do some serious roster shuffling if they wanted to fit all of those salaries on the team. At the moment, the Lakers have one max salary slot after releasing Luol Deng earlier this month. They’d have to do a lot more if they wanted to get Durant and Leonard under the same roof.