Does Kevin Durant’s Injury Change How Players Approach Returning from Injury? Also, How Might This Affect the Celtics?

ESPNWarriors star forward Kevin Durant suffered a right Achilles tendon injury in Golden State’s 106-105 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Durant will have an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury, but the emotional looks on the players’ and coaches’ faces told more of the story. League sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski that the Warriors believe the MRI will confirm an Achilles tear.

What an absolute bummer. Say what you will about Kevin Durant, his burner accounts, and his poor handling of media scrutiny, but the guy is a top 3 player in the NBA and is one of the best all around scorers in league history. An absolute baller that is a blast to watch play the game of basketball. If you’ve never seen his HBO documentary “The Offseason” go back and watch that right now because it is A+ content and will definitely make you a KD fan if you are undecided.

So to see him go down with what looked like a clear achilles injury last night was terrible to see. Especially considering he probably returned too soon because his team was in the NBA Finals. Its not like it was Game 7 either, sure the Warriors won last night, but at what cost? They’re still down 3-2 and now KD is looking at a probably 12 month recovery timeframe, just 3 weeks before free agency starts.

It’s important to note the Durant does have a player option for $31.5 Million with the Warriors next year. I’m curious to see how this all plays out though because while he is an all-world talent, will another team really pay him $30 Million just to rehab next season in hopes of securing him for the following 3 years (and hope he’s healthy)? Or would he go out on the market only to have to take an incentive laden deal or in the worst case scenario will he lose out on a huge contract similar to what happened to Isaiah Thomas? Or the Warriors could actually offer Durant the supermax 5-year $220 Million deal because who has a better idea on the severity of his injury than Golden State? Either way you have to imagine this changes the landscape of the NBA for players debating returning to action too soon. Unless its a Game 7 or your an aging vet desperate for a ring, risking further injury (and potentially generational wealth) just ain’t worth it.

And not to make this all about the Celtics, but this could have a snowball affect on the rest of the league, particularly the Knicks, as SNY points out. If KD is seriously hurt, he may just exercise his player option in Golden State while he recovers, which takes him off the board for the Knicks. If they can’t get KD, maybe the Knicks rethink trying to trade for Anthony Davis and/or maybe Kyrie rethinks potentially signing there. Maybe Kyrie takes a look around and realizes Boston is his best shot at winning a title and maybe the Celtics re-sign Kyrie and then they trade for AD. A lot of maybes in there, which is why the NBA offseason is the best show on TV.

PS – Toronto Raptors fans are dirtbags for cheering the KD injury. I hope Steph Curry scores 60 points in Game 6 and rips Drake’s heart out in the middle of Jurassic Park in Game 7.

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