Predicting Kevin Durant’s next team and NBA legacy

Where will Kevin Durant play next season? Is he or Stephen Curry the better player? Who is more important to the Golden State Warriors’ success?

We polled the ESPN Forecast panel of experts for their votes on what’s next for KD and his NBA legacy.

Where will Kevin Durant play next season?

Where will Kevin Durant play next season? Is he or Stephen Curry the better player? Who is more important to the Golden State Warriors‘ success?

We polled the ESPN Forecast panel of experts for their votes on what’s next for KD and his NBA legacy.

Which team is Durant most likely to play for next season?

Durant will almost certainly decide not to take his $30 million-plus player option for next season, which will make him the most coveted superstar in a deep free-agent class. Half the league could have max cap space to recruit him away from Golden State. Our panel has the Warriors as the front-runners for KD, though the rest of the field got a majority of the votes.

Forecast Results

TEAM FIRST-PLACE VOTES PERCENTAGE*
Golden State Warriors 17 35.0
New York Knicks 10 26.4
Los Angeles Lakers 8 19.1
LA Clippers 3 8.5
* Weighted for first, second and third choice

Others receiving votes: Washington Wizards, Boston CelticsSan Antonio SpursPhiladelphia 76ersMiami HeatHouston RocketsBrooklyn NetsDallas MavericksAtlanta Hawks

MORE: NBA execs already focused on 2019 free agency

Who is the Warriors’ best player?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has called KD the second-best player in the world, behind LeBron James. Durant’s teammate Stephen Curry edged him in ESPN’s #NBArank this year, and Steph takes the majority of votes here as well.

Forecast Results

PLAYER VOTE (%)
Stephen Curry 67.4
Kevin Durant 32.6

Insider

MORE: How good would the Warriors be without Kevin Durant?

For this season, which player is most important to the Warriors’ success?

The Warriors started 2-5 when Curry went down earlier this month, but they rattled off three wins before an overtime loss to Toronto since then behind huge games from Durant. Still, our panel overwhelmingly selects Curry as most important to Golden State. Klay Thompson was the only other player who received a vote.

Forecast Results

PLAYER VOTE (%)
Stephen Curry 97.7
Klay Thompson 2.3

MORE: Our early picks for NBA MVP, ROY and awards surprises

For the long term, should the Warriors prioritize Draymond Green or Kevin Durant?

Durant’s impending 2019 free agency was a lingering question following the confrontation between Durant and Green that led to Green’s one-game suspension. Green can hit free agency in 2020, and he’ll be supermax-eligible with another All-NBA nod or Defensive Player of the Year award. If the Warriors had to choose one over the other, our panel recommends KD.

Forecast Results

PLAYER VOTE (%)
Kevin Durant 81.4
Draymond Green 18.6

Insider

MORE:Will Draymond Green be worth a max contract? 

What’s next for Golden State if KD leaves?

Since the Warriors are capped out, they don’t have many options to improve if Durant decides to join another team next summer. Remember that Klay Thompson can also hit free agency in 2019, and he’ll be supermax-eligible with an All-NBA selection.

Which is most true if Durant leaves Golden State in 2019?

  • 72.1 percent: The Warriors will be one of many title contenders.
  • 20.9 percent: The Warriors will be heavy title favorites in 2019-20.
  • 7.0 percent: It will be the end of the Warriors’ dynasty.

MORE: Kevin Durant is the most powerful person in the NBA

Including this season, how many more titles do you expect Durant to win?

Durant has two titles and two Finals MVPs to his name. FiveThirtyEight gives Golden State a 50 percent chance to win the championship this season — well ahead of second-best Toronto (14 percent).

Our panel is in agreement that Durant will snag at least one more trophy.

Forecast Results

TITLES VOTE (%)
Two 53.3
One 39.5
Three 4.7
Five 2.3

MORE: The Warriors are close to being the Warriors again

Where does Durant rank among the greatest players of all time?

Back in 2016 — before he joined the Warriors — Durant finished No. 22 in ESPN’s all-time #NBArank (one spot ahead of Curry). Most of our panel has bumped him higher on the list of great players since then.

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