Basketball fans far and wide experienced a range of emotions yesterday, but outside of the Golden State Warrior and Toronto Raptor fanbases, none more so probably than Pelican faithful.
The day began with an early morning announcement of the New Orleans Pelicans hiring Swin Cash as the vice president of basketball operations and team development. Hours later, Adrian Wojnarowski revealed David Griffin’s wish list and the interested teams to date, but the big takeaway was multi-team scenarios. The likelihood that a third or possibly a fourth team would be included in an Anthony Davis trade are presumed high. Then Shams Charania chimed in during the afternoon that Davis prefers to land on only one of two teams: the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks.
But the biggest and most unexpected event took place during game 5 of the NBA Finals. Minutes after Kevin Durant’s return to action was cut short by another leg injury, rumors started to swirl that his latest mishap was of the unthinkable variety.
In postgame media, the raw emotions were unmistakable as they were gut-wrenching.
Although the extent of his injury has not yet officially been determined as of this writing, the Warriors claim Kevin Durant suffered some type of Achilles injury. Moreover, many surmise it will detrimentally affect his ability to play basketball next season.
Obviously, I don’t need to tell most about how worrisome these type of injuries are, that they threaten careers, or worse of all, it’s cause for some sadistic celebration — shame on some of you Toronto fans!
DeMarcus Cousins’ time with the Pelicans was cut ridiculously short after he crumbled to the floor late in a game against the Houston Rockets on January 26, 2018 and the team’s path changed forever in an instant. Boogie was hurtling towards a maximum 5-year, $176 million dollar contract; instead, he left New Orleans to sign a one-year, $5.3 million (taxpayer MLE) deal with Golden State.
Fortunately, there are strong indications that Kevin Durant will not be forced to sustain a hit to his pocketbook like Cousins did. Bobby Marks has received word from three teams that they would still offer him the max and not include any injury language.
That being said, expect this year’s free agency period to still play out differently for a number of factors. First, with Golden State’s odds of fielding a super team incredibly low, the door is open for other teams to make a run at the championship. The Daryl Morey’s of the world were always going to remain aggressive, but this new window might induce others to roll the dice. Could the Nuggets, Trail Blazers or Clippers talk themselves into Anthony Davis?
If not, never fear, there will be plenty of others now contemplating on what they should give up in order to secure Davis’ rights for this upcoming season. AD could be the Knicks last gasp at doing something meaningful this summer, the Nets only hope of pairing up Kyrie Irving with another superstar or some surprise team like the Indiana Pacers of improving their team enough to leap ahead of the Bucks and Raptors.
For a more detailed look at this and everything else than transpired yesterday, please give this edition of our podcast a listen. The double Davids, Jamile and I are sure you’ll love it!