Kevin Durant reportedly declines player option with Warriors for 2019-20 NBA season

Kevin Durant will become a free agent after declining a $31.5 million player option to stay with the Golden State Warriors in 2019-20, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Durant can still re-sign with the Warriors, but this decision signals to the basketball world that one of the most talented players alive still expects to receive a more lucrative deal in free agency despite tearing his right Achilles tendon in the Finals.

9 PHOTOS
Kevin Durant injures leg during NBA Finals Game 5
See Gallery
Kevin Durant injures leg during NBA Finals Game 5
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) goes down with a leg injury against the Toronto Raptors during first half action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto on Monday, June 10, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 is helped to his feet by Klay Thompson #11 and Quinn Cook #4 of the Golden State Warriors after sustaining an injury against the Toronto Raptors in the first half during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors reacts as Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is carried off the court in the first half during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant, alero de los Warriors de Golden State, es ayudado a salir de la cancha tras lesionarse durante el quinto partido de la Final de la NBA ante los Raptors de Toronto, el lunes 10 de junio de 2019 (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant glances up at the stands as he walks off the court after sustaining an injury during first half basketball action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, Monday, June 10, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) is consoled as he walks off the court after sustaining an injury during first half basketball action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto on Monday, June 10, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) walks off the court after sustaining an injury as Toronto Raptors' Serge Ibaka (9) addresses the crowd, while Warriors' Andre Iguodala (9) and Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) look on during first half basketball action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, Monday, June 10, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is assisted off the court after sustaining an injury in the first half against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Warriors and New York Knicks are expected to offer Durant a full max contract when free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET on June 30, league sources told Yahoo Sports. That would mean as much as five years and $221 million from Golden State or four years and $164 million from another team. The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers have also been rumored suitors for the 30-year-old two-time Finals MVP.

Durant has been spotted this week in New York, where his company Thirty Five Ventures is located. Wojnarowski reported that Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman (a New York native) are currently in the city weighing their options.

Durant’s decision to decline $31.5 million guaranteed from the Warriors is not unexpected. Given that he will miss either all or most of next season with the Achilles injury, there was some question as to whether he might pick up his player option and rehab in Golden State, where he has spent the past three seasons, before reentering free agency in 2020, when he would still command max money.

The injury may have crystallized his future: lock in four or five more years of secure income, because there is no telling what becomes of his career from here, and do so wherever he wants to spend his early 30s. Do not wait to start your next chapter.

Ever since Durant signed his one-year deal with the option last summer, speculation began that he may not be long for the Warriors, whom he led to titles in his first two seasons with the team. An early season dustup with teammate Draymond Green only fueled the rumors, because his free agency was an impetus for the altercation.

The playoffs saw wild swings of public opinion on whether the Warriors truly needed Durant, and the pin landed on them very much requiring his services to remain a championship-level team. Even if he never reaches 100 percent of his apex again, he is still a 7-footer capable of scoring over anyone in the league. Already one of the 15 greatest players to ever play the game, Durant’s next team can rest assured he will do whatever he can to continue climbing that all-time list.

See other notable names hitting the free agent market: 

30 PHOTOS
Notable 2019 NBA free agents
See Gallery
Notable 2019 NBA free agents
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) disputes a call during second half of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant scowls after scoring during the second half in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, April 26, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 129-110. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving gestures during the first half of Game 3 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler in action during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. Raptors won 101-96. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) passes the ball against the Detroit Pistons during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson celebrates the team's win over the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Friday, May 10, 2019, in Houston. Golden State won 118-113, winning the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris in action during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. Raptors won 101-96. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton shoots a free throw during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Detroit Pistons Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 120-99. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Brooklyn Nets' D'Angelo Russell looks on during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 122-100. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Boston Celtics' Al Horford in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 13: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic dribbles the ball during Game One of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on April 13, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 15: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the LA Clippers during Game Two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 15, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 12: Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors reacts during Game Seven of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at Scotiabank Arena on May 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez reacts after making a three-point basket during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Detroit Pistons Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic brings the ball up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Philadelphia 76ers' JJ Redick reacts during the second half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 116-95. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) brings the ball upcourt against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
Sacramento Kings' Harrison Barnes (40) walks up court during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Milwaukee Bucks' Malcolm Brogdon during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Thursday, March 7, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Toronto Raptors' Danny Green in action during the second half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. Raptors won 101-96. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Milwaukee Bucks' Nikola Mirotic shoots a free throw during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu, right, shoots as Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 23, 2019. Portland won 117-112. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier brings the ball up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York. The Nets won 110-96. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, March 28, 2019. The Pelicans won 121-118. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Terrence Ross #31 of the Orlando Magic is seen during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 30, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio (3) brings the ball up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley celebrates during the second half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) reacts after shooting a three pointer during the second half of an NBA basketball game agains the Phoenix Suns on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

– – – – – – –

Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

More from Yahoo Sports:

Read Full Story