According to Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant’s manager, the superstar’s New York Knicks future is anything but certain.
Rich Kleiman, Durant’s Manhattan-based manager, spoke with The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay at The WSJ Future of Everything Festival. Gay asked if there was any news to report about Durant’s next team, even namedropping the Knicks. Kleiman replied “no” even as Gay was asking the question.
“That is 100% undecided,” Kleiman said. “I’m waiting on Kevin, that’s the truth.”
Kevin Durant is “100 percent undecided” on where he’s playing next, his manager @RichKleiman says at The #WSJFuture Of Everything Festival. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.” pic.twitter.com/1fEw2kYZqm
— WSJ Sports (@WSJSports) May 21, 2019
Kleiman compared the situation to the 1983 film WarGames, which centers on a teenage hacker engaging in tedious computer games with a government supercomputer that are taken very seriously by the latter.
“When somebody gets to the level of basketball that he’s at, you can’t juggle focus like that,” Kleiman said. “There’s so many things he’s juggling, too. He’s not scripting his future while playing the way he plays and practices the way he practices.
“He really doesn’t know. And I really don’t know.”
This is in stark contrast to prior reports that hinted the free-agent-to-be was well on his way to Manhattan. For example, Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports claimed an unidentified NBA veteran told him that a Durant to New York deal was “100% done”.
If the latter reports turn out to be false, Durant would join an alarmingly long list of star free agents to spurn New York after vigorous courtship. Such a list already includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and Greg Monroe.
The official wooing of Durant has yet to begin. His current employers in Golden State have reached their fifth consecutive NBA Finals. Durant (calf) has not played since Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Warriors have won each of the five Durant-free games, including a four-game sweep of the conference finals over Portland. They await the winner of the currently-split Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. Game 5 of that series is slated for Thursday in Milwaukee (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
Warriors owner Joe Lacob seems convinced that Durant will partake in the Finals.
“I don’t know if you forgot so quickly how in the first round, and the second round, and how everyone was saying Kevin was the greatest player in the world and he was dominant,” Lacob told Sam Amick of The Athletic during the conference title celebration. “So he was incredibly important. Unfortunately, he got injured. He’s coming back now for the Finals, and so the story’s not fully written yet.”
The NBA Finals will begin on May 30 at the home of the Eastern Conference champion.