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Report: Kevin Durant declines option for 2019-20 season

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One of the biggest fish in the 2019 free-agent pond is reportedly opting out of his deal. 

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant has declined his option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, are in New York and are evaluating Durant’s free agency options, Wojnarowski reports, and the process has remained private.

If Durant were to re-sign with the Warriors, he could ink a five-year, $221 million deal. If he signs with another team, the most he can get is a four-year, $164 million deal. Wojnarnowski reports Durant is still considering staying put, but the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are all believed to be in the running for him as well.

The former two-time Finals MVP and Kia MVP winner enters the offseason as perhaps the biggest name on the market alongside the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard and Durant’s Warriors teammate, Klay Thompson. Durant has long been expected to draw interest on the open market from a number of teams with salary cap room.

Durant suffered a ruptured right Achilles in Game 5 of The Finals and the timetable for his return date is unknown. He got hurt on a dribble on the right wing, coming up lame on a crossover move and falling to the floor. He grabbed the back of his leg, appeared to grab below the calf and more toward the Achilles area, and needed help to limp to the bench area and more help to get back to the Warriors’ locker room. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was on Durant’s left side as they made the long walk back to the room, with Warriors GM Bob Myers and Curry in the group immediately behind them.

Players have made comebacks off Achilles surgery, with relative levels of success.

This is Durant’s first serious injury since the 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, when a fracture in his right foot ultimately limited him to 27 games. In October of 2014, he suffered a “Jones fracture” in his foot and had surgery that sidelined him until December of that year. He played off and on for the next two months before he was shut down for the season to have a third surgery on the fractured bone in his foot.

Since joining the Warriors in the summer of 2016, Durant has been mostly healthy. He missed 19 straight games in his first season with Golden State because of a strained MCL in his left knee. He missed two first-round playoff games in 2017 as well because of a strained left calf muscle, but was healthy the rest of the way en route to his first Finals MVP honors and first NBA championship.

This season, Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 32.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.5 apg and 1 bpg.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Spurs promote Buford to CEO; Wright to serve as GM

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Spurs Sports & Entertainment has promoted two-time NBA executive of the year RC Buford to chief executive officer, effective Sept. 3.

Buford is credited along with coach Gregg Popovich for building the Spurs into one of the most consistently successful franchises in sports, with five NBA championships since 1999 and 22 consecutive playoff appearances. Popovich is returning this fall for his 24th season.

Buford started his current run with the Spurs in 1994 and has climbed the ranks, including being named general manager in 2002 and his promotion to president of sports franchises in 2008.

The Spurs also said Tuesday that Brian Wright will serve as GM after three years as an assistant and Lori Warren and Bobby Perez have been elevated to executive vice president roles. Longtime executives Rick Pych and Lawrence Payne will transition to advisory roles.

On Monday, the Spurs said former NBA MVP Tim Duncan will join the Spurs as an assistant coach this season.

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Suns sign forward/center Cheick Diallo

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PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns today signed forward/center Cheick Diallo (pronounced Sheck Dee-ALL-oh) to a multiyear contract.

Diallo, 22 years old, has played three NBA seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and this past season averaged career highs of 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.0 minutes while making 62.0% of his field goals. Following the All-Star break in 2018-19, he averaged 8.9 points and 7.6 rebounds on 63.6% shooting from the field and 84.0% from the free throw line with eight double-doubles in 23 games, including a career-high 18 boards plus 16 points on Feb. 22 at Indiana. On a per-36 minute basis, Diallo holds career averages of 15.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

A 6-9, 220-pound forward/center, Diallo also measures a 7-5 wingspan and a 9-0 standing reach. He was originally the 33rd overall selection in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers following one season at the University of Kansas. New Orleans acquired Diallo in a draft night trade and he played in 133 regular season games with the Pelicans in addition to seven postseason appearances during the team’s run to the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals.

Born in Kayes, Mali, Diallo began playing basketball at age 13 and moved to the United States as a 15-year-old in 2012 to pursue his career. He attended Our Savior New American High School in Centereach, New York, where he was a national top-ten recruit, two-time New York Gatorade Player of the Year, MVP of the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game and Co-MVP of the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic. Last year, Diallo represented Mali by playing for Team Africa at the NBA Africa Game 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the second player in NBA history to have been born in Mali (Soumaila Samake).

Diallo will wear uniform No. 14 with the Suns. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15 players; an updated roster is attached.

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2020 NBA Free Agents | NBA.com

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Former All-Stars Draymond Green and Anthony Davis could hit the market in the summer of 2020. Who else might join the duo? Scroll down for some of the bigger 2020 names who could be looking for a new team. To view the complete list of current 2019 free agents, go to NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker.

For a refresher on free agency terminology (Unrestricted, Restricted, Player Option and more), check out our Free Agency Explainer page.

Notable Players Who Are Potential 2020 Free Agents

Unrestricted
Kyle Lowry
Draymond Green

Restricted
Jaylen Brown
Brandon Ingram
Pascal Siakam
Domantas Sabonis

Player Option
DeMar DeRozan
Gordon Hayward
Anthony Davis
Andre Drummond

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