Durant out of Golden State — What’s Next?

With Kevin Durant opting out of his contract, we’re set for a wild NBA season in 2019-20

While most fans following the free agency madness are not surprised, it is official: Kevin Durant has opted out of his contract, deciding to abstain from going with his player option and now looking to try his hand at the free agency market as an unrestricted free agent. With Durant gone from Golden State, what should gamblers and fans alike keep in mind when it comes to the league as a whole?

Golden State Takes Hit

While the current futures odds in the present NBA markets for next season tend to anticipate events before they happen, the odds on the Warriors making the NBA Finals, let alone winning them, in 2020 is much higher due to the departure of Durant. While it remains to be seen if he does return, virtually all projections suggest that he will not be returning to the Warriors, based on the reports of those in the know as well as the betting markets set in anticipation.

It’s important to realize that without Durant, the Warriors are still a solid squad, but with certain key players, like Andre Iguodala and others, entering the market solo, it implies that the Warriors are now a much more vulnerable entity.

Without Klay Thompson, the Warriors will essentially have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, who, while very good players in their own right, the dearth of high-powered scoring talent like Klay and KD eliminates virtually all lethality that the Warriors once had.

Is there value on Golden State to win the conference? Possibly. You very well could be getting some good value on the Warriors, but league fatigue and rising powers in the West seems to imply that the Warriors’ outstanding run in the Western Conference is coming to an end. They should still get looks as one of the league’s better-coached and better-disciplined teams.

A Potential Brooklyn Beast?

It has been some time since a truly wrecking machine of a team has existed in the Eastern Conference — a Beast of the East, if you will — since the Miami Heat teams led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. But if Durant chooses to jump conferences and try his hand at the East, it’s very likely we will see one of those great teams once again.

Much of the purveying rumors seem to suggest that all signs are pointing to KD choosing between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, with the Nets being in the lead. If Durant does choose Brooklyn, he will be coming to a team with a lot of potential, and while there would still have to be a lot more in terms of pieces to push them over the edge, there may be a lot of potential value on the Nets. And depending on whether other teams can make some moves, it’s very possible the Nets could attempt to also bring in another major free agent player like Kyrie Irving.

Vacuum of Power

With the opting out of Durant, it was essentially a signal to other Western powers that there is a vacuum of power, and it has never been a better time for another team to rise up and fill that void left by the Warriors dynasty. With the Lakers adding the likes of Anthony Davis overnight, they instantly jumped to the lead as the favorites to win the NBA title as well as the Western Conference.

Without Durant, keep an eye on teams like the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Houston Rockets. We’ve yet to see whether the Lakers are worthy of their world-beater status, but for sure, give these other squads a look, too.

Tyler Vaysman

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