Kevin Durant's Achilles injury could sideline him for a year and have a significant impact on his career. When you're arguably best player in the world, your absence creates a ripple effect. This is especially true as Durant is expected to be a free agent this summer among a star-studded cast. Now what's going to happen?
Here are four ways KD's injury could affect NBA free agency.
4. Does Durant Opt-in?
The first question to answer is whether or not Durant opts into his $31.5 million player option or opts out to seek a longer deal. DeMarcus Cousins was lowballed after he suffered an Achilles injury, but Durant is much different player and teams might end up offering him max deals. Will he cash in the free $31.5 million, get another chance at a ring and then sign a max next year, or does he leave Golden State altogether?
3. Championship Door Wide Open
If Durant does miss most of next year, a lot of things change for the Warriors and contention for the NBA title. The Raptors have shown they could possibly an end to the unstoppable Warriors' dynasty. Without Durant, the championship door is wide open. Will free agents favor teams like the Lakers, Bucks and 76ers, for example? It definitely creates more of a question where others will land.
2. What Does Kyrie Irving Do?
Kyrie Irving has always been linked to Durant as a potential team-up target this free agency, with many believing the Knicks to be the top destination. However, with KD now likely sidelined for quite some time, Kyrie could change his mind and take matters into his own hands to figure out where he'll spend the foreseeable future.
1. The Knicks' Worst Nightmare
The Knicks had a grand plan this summer: create two max slots to bring in Durant and another superstar. But now what? The team traded away its most promising player and tanked away a season only to end up with the third pick and possibly no max players. Durant's injury could lead to him opting in with Golden State for another year, which gives leaves the Knicks as an unattractive destination for a single max player such as Kyrie. When the summer is over, the Knicks could be sitting there with a mismatch of assets and nothing else.