Kevin Durant is officially a free agent, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says he has declined his $31.5 million option to return to the Warriors next season.
Before Durant's Achilles injury, this move was basically 100 percent going to happen. But there was the thought that he might want to opt back into his deal with Golden State following his surgery, and then hit the market next season.
However, Woj added that opting in would be Durant's "last resorts, as teams have still shown tremendous interest in arguably the best player in the league, even though he is likely out all of next season. SNY's Ian Begley has been reporting the Knicks believe they are among the desired teams in Durant's camp.
The Nets and Clippers are also among top teams looking at the 10-time All-Star. The Lakers are also attempting to clear another max slot.
The Knicks have two max slots to work with this summer, but they will be cautious with Durant. As much as they'd love to add his talents to their roster, the club will be seeking more information on his injury during their pursuit of him, Begley adds.
The Durant-Kyrie Irving combo was the dream during the season, but even Irving's thought process at the moment is causing issues. He was reportedly favoring the Nets, and there is the possibility of Durant joining him. Brooklyn even has DeAndre Jordan, who the Knicks kept around last year due to his strong friendship with Durant, on their radar as well, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein.
Team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry noted they won't be shelling out max contracts unless it's a player at the top of their list. Along with Durant and Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and potentially Kemba Walker could be at the top of the heap. Begley is hearing the Knicks are looking to be specifically "aggressive" for Leonard.
New York certainly has their options in this free agent market, but landing Durant has always been a priority. Now, with just four days until the market officially opens, Durant is ready to hear pitches from his desired destinations.
It will be up to the Knicks to entice him to make New York his new home in the NBA.