This article was originally published on June 10. Click here for current 2020 NBA futures odds.
Safe to assume that Kevin Durant will not be playing basketball again until 2020 after injuring his Achilles tendon in Golden State’s thrilling Game 5 victory Monday night that sent the NBA Finals back to Oakland for Game 6.
Whether or not Durant took an unnecessary risk or was coerced into playing with an injury that was more serious than the Warriors were saying publicly are topics that will be discussed ad nauseam between now and the end of time.
But for the moment, the bottom line is that the NBA free agency landscape has been reshaped for this summer, and Durant may not even be a free agent because he has a player option for next season that, if exercised, will allow him to collect $31.5 million while he rehabs. He would then become unrestricted in 2020.
Who becomes the top free agent target?
It has been well-chronicled that the Los Angeles Clippers have been shadowing Leonard at every Raptors game this season, and the biggest unknown in the NBA right now is whether he will choose to stay in Toronto or leave as a free agent. And while all the attention has been focused on the Clippers as his most likely landing zone, do not discount the New York Knicks — if the Durant injury keeps him off the free agent market.
When Leonard spent nearly an entire season away from the San Antonio Spurs, he spent most of his time in New York — even hiding from Spurs team officials one afternoon at the Players Association headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
Making a trade for Anthony Davis remains priority No. 1 for the Knicks, but they would have to gut their team and trade away the No. 3 pick in the draft in order to satisfy the demands of new Pelicans general manager David Griffin. If New York cannot get a Davis deal done, there still are two max salary free agent slots available to them, and it is not out of the question that they target Leonard as their top choice.
The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas currently lists the Knicks at 20-1 to win the 2020 NBA championship … the same odds as the Thunder and Nuggets.
2020 NBA Futures Odds (as of June 12)
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