Kevin Durant will stand on the floor at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night and watch another banner lifted into the rafters and wait for another ring to be presented to him, this time with the slight discomfort of his former team in the building on the same night.
The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder share a strange, awkward bond, with it less a rivalry and more sympathetic schadenfreude. Durant left the Thunder to join the Warriors, a seismic moment in NBA history, altering the trajectory of one franchise, and enhancing the other.nike nfl jerseys for cheap
But as the Warriors kick off their final season in Oakland, the bittersweet taste of their pending move across the bay lingering over it, like the Thunder experienced themselves, Durant’s uncertain future and the growing rumbles surrounding it will blanket everything else.
There has been swelling noise Durant could leave the Warriors next summer, with connected insiders dropping hints and close associates either backing them up, or not outright denying them. And speculation goes back even further: In the days following Durant’s departure from OKC, those close to him predicted the Warriors wouldn’t be his final career stop.
But it’s not even an open secret that Durant will consider leaving the Warriors next summer; it’s just reality. And it’s been that way since he signed another short-term deal in July (a two-year contract, with an opt-out after this season).nfl jerseys nike cheap
There’s no financial incentive this time around, no 10-year threshold to hit. Another one-year deal next summer could give Durant full Bird rights in 2019, allowing him to sign a five-year max, but if he had his eye on that he would’ve signed a two-plus-one. (The cap jumping from a $109 million to a projected $116 million could be financially beneficial to a small degree, but that projection wasn’t when Durant signed.)
The actual incentive behind another single-season deal, as Durant said himself, is to keep his options open.
“I could have easily signed a long-term deal but I just wanted to take it season by season and see where it takes me,” Durant told ESPN’s Nick Friedell a few weeks ago. “And I think this year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all. I’m looking forward to just focusing on that and we’ll see what happens after the year.”