Kevin Durant’s injury has suddenly thrown a wrench into what was shaping up to be the biggest summer in the NBA in years.
Durant on Wednesday confirmed league-wide fears by announcing he had surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered during his ill-fated Game 5 return to the NBA Finals. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has written that Durant will miss the 2019-20 season, though an exact timetable for his return hasn’t been made clear.
An injury to the most coveted free agent in a summer full of them has caused ripple effects throughout the league.
How do teams proceed with Durant perhaps shelved for a year and, based on history of torn Achilles, unlikely to be the same player when he returns?
Will the Lakers go all-in for Anthony Davis?
ESPN on Wednesday reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics each were engaged with the New Orleans Pelicans on trade talks for Anthony Davis.
According to ESPN, the Lakers seem to have taken the lead in discussions, with an offer that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA draft. That pick may be used in a separate deal to net another player to send to the Pelicans.
According to both ESPN and The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have not included third-year forward Kyle Kuzma in discussions, hoping to hang onto the young, versatile scorer as a piece to keep around a LeBron James-Davis duo.
Most in the NBA world feel certain that Kuzma won’t become a sticking-point in these discussions. With James turning 35 in December, the Lakers have a small window to put a championship contender around him. If Kuzma is all that is standing in the way of acquiring Davis, he’ll likely be added to the deal.
Though the Lakers seem hesitant to go all-in at the moment (it’s unclear if they have also added third-year guard Josh Hart or future draft picks into their offer), they made eventually decide to because Durant is injured.
Whether Durant stays with the Warriors this summer or goes to another team, the Western Conference suddenly looks wide open. The Durant-less Warriors have looked dynamic at times this postseason, but could this current squad, without any major offseason additions, play at a championship rate for 82 games next year?
Knowing it could be their best chance to land a star player, in a West without a super-power, could convince the Lakers to go all-in.
Does Durant’s injury affect Kyrie Irving’s decision and an Anthony Davis trade?
The Celtics are in a difficult position with Davis.