Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant could be a headlining name of a loaded free agent class during the summer of 2019 should he decline his player option next season.
Life can't get much better for the former league MVP as the past two seasons have been as close to perfection as one can have in the NBA. Since joining the Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant has won a pair of NBA titles and two Finals MVP awards.
Yet there is a notion that Durant could at least test the free agency market when his contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season, though it would be a puzzling move, at least at the moment, to leave one of the strongest, well-rounded teams in NBA history.
- PHOTOS: 16 Betty White quotes to brighten your day17 Pictures
- PHOTOS: It was a stylish No Pants Subway Ride 2019 in NYC19 Pictures
But even the prospect of Durant becoming a free agent next summer will have countless teams around the NBA on watch as the 29-year-old enters the waning years of his prime.
If LeBron James' career suggests anything though, the NBA could see another five years of Durant performing at the kind of level that has seen him average 27.1 points per game over his first 11 seasons in the league.
Among the possibly interested in Durant is the New York Knicks, a franchise that is looking to buck the two-decade trend of mediocrity while ending a championship drought that is nearing 50 years.
It would be a drastic step down for Durant to join such a team, but there could be some overwhelming motives that could see him land in New York.
Why would Kevin Durant want to sign with the Knicks?
Durant's current contract with the Warriors has set him up for a monster payday. Should he opt out of the second year of his contract, the Warriors, he could be given a supermax extension that totals $219 million over five years.
However, there are going to be plenty of teams that could provide him a max deal, albeit $70 million less than what the Warriors could offer. But if he's looking for a change, $149 million is still quite a lot of money.
The Knicks are slated to have two max salary slots open on their roster next year, meaning Durant could get a huge deal and help dictate who Steve Mills or Scott Perry should go after for further All-Star-level support.
Prior to his shock move to the Warriors two years ago, Durant was once considered one of the good guys in basketball.
That image has changed since as he's been looked on as a traitor to the Thunder, taking the so-called easy way out to join a stacked team that already featured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The "easy way out" mentality could hinder his legacy once his career ends. As the main man in Oklahoma City, he was unable to bring a title home alongside Russell Westbrook and needed to surround himself with a superteam in order to win a championship.
Sure he's a Hall of Famer, but he couldn't win the big game as THE guy.
A move to the Knicks would suddenly make New York a contender in the East and should the Knicks play their cards right with Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox and the other max salary contract spot, Durant could be that guy at the center of ending a lengthy title drought.