For NBA enthusiasts, these are wild times.
Even with the trade deadline chaos finally subsiding, an explosive summer awaits with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler all entering free agency.
The intrigue surrounding Durant, in particular, is immense.
KD has been heavily rumoured to leave Golden State for New York for months, and there are plenty of signs which suggest he’ll do exactly that.
For your convenience, we’ve compiled every single one of them.
DURANT’S CLOSE PERSONAL TIES WITH THE KNICKS
Knicks general manager Scott Perry was part of the Seattle front office team that drafted Durant in 2007, and Perry and KD have maintained a good relationship to this day, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
Then there’s Rich Kleiman, Durant’s agent and business manager.
Kleiman is a New Yorker and a lifelong Knicks fan who reportedly holds dreams of working with the team one day.
Meanwhile, Royal Ivey, one of Durant’s closest friends, is currently a member of David Fizdale’s coaching staff.
THE KNICKS TRADING KRISTAPS PORZINGIS FOR
DENNIS SMITH JR, DEANDRE JORDAN AND WESLEY MATTHEWSCAP SPACE
You don’t trade Porzingis for cap space unless you know you’re getting one, if not two, superstars.
Then again, they are the Knicks.
THE KNICKS USING A PHOTO OF DURANT IN A PITCH TO SELL SEASON TICKETS FOR NEXT SEASON
In a pitch designed to encourage their season ticket holders to renew for next season, the Knicks thought this photo, of all photos, was best one to hype up the team for 2019-20.
— Paul (@Paul_HQ) February 10, 2019
DURANT’S BROTHER POSTING A NOT-SO-CRYPTIC INSTAGRAM COMMENT
We were just one game into the season when Durant’s brother, Tony, left a comment on one of KD’s Instagram posts which raised a lot of questions.
Following Golden State’s opening night with over Oklahoma City, he commented: “Yessir brother!!!! Filling the hand up before we get outta here!”
KD’s brother with the comment
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 17, 2018
The lesser known Durant later said his “before we get outta here” remark was referring to retirement, before telling everyone to “stop reaching”.
Considering Durant had only just celebrated his 30th birthday, it certainly felt like no one was reaching more than ol’ Tony.
THE WARRIORS’ AWKWARD ROASTING OF DURANT DURING LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE
Thinly veiled jabs are commonplace in the NBA, but few would expect to see any at a championship parade.
But that’s exactly what we got when Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers roasted Durant during the team’s title celebrations last year.
The first notable quote of the parade: Bob Myers with an unexpected zing at at Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/asE6MpsgN5
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 12, 2018
As you can you see, Durant is on the ropes here after taking a savage bl…BAH GAWD WARRIORS ANNOUNCER BOB FITZGERALD WITH THE STEEL CHAIR!
The head shakes! pic.twitter.com/LJX9wz3xma
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) June 12, 2018
All this was rather strange, especially for an occasion which traditionally features nothing but love.
The genuine awkwardness in the air suggested this was more than just a bit of light ribbing, and the jokes wouldn’t have been quite so uncomfortable if no one present believed there was actually any truth to them.
DRAYMOND GREEN RIPPING INTO DURANT ABOUT HIS FREE AGENCY PLANS
While media outlets like this one have been feverishly speculating about Durant’s future for months, we never really knew how much this was weighing on his teammates’ minds.
But that changed when all hell broke loose in mid-November as Durant got into a shouting match with Draymond Green, who repeatedly called KD a “bitch” and questioned his loyalty to the team.
Kevin Durant & Draymond Green get into a heated exchange after Draymond failed to get a shot off at the end of regulation during the Warriors loss to the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/uYROz4bld1
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 13, 2018
Green’s actions not only revealed that he was genuinely concerned about Durant’s impending free agency, but also suggested it had become a sore spot within the Warriors locker room.
A LONG LIST OF CREDIBLE REPORTERS EITHER BELIEVE IT’S A DONE DEAL, OR HIGHLY LIKELY
Allow me to provide a few rapid-fire examples:
The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss has reported, much to Durant’s fury, that “insiders around the league think Kevin Durant is leaving the Warriors for the Knicks.”
The New York Times’ Marc Stein wrote, “The threat of the Knicks persuading Durant to leave one of the most dominant teams in league history has never felt more real to the Warriors themselves.”
Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck claimed one executive told him that Durant had already informed the Knicks he’s coming.
If you’re not convinced now, you probably never will be.