Durant to Opt Out, Rework Deal with Warriors in Offseason

Kevin Durant Klay Thompson

"I mean, there are people who'd say, 'I'd rather play the Warriors right now in the first round than the Thunder or the Jazz'".

But just as important as the Warriors landing a (presumably) Kawhi Leonard-free San Antonio in the first round was the fact that the Jazz and Thunder both found themselves on the other side of the bracket from Golden State on Wednesday.

The flexible contract Durant signed back in 2016 was mainly so the Warriors could resign vital bench pieces such as Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala, but also gave KD the opportunity to end it early in case of a change of heart or simply wanting more money.

This raises the question why they would feel this way, Durant was the Finals MVP a year ago, outplaying Curry and possibly LeBron James. Frankly, given how successful Utah has been against the Warriors this year, I don't know which way things would have gone, even with Curry on the court. The Warriors' combination of talent, experience, and coaching won't allow them to play in the playoffs the way they have over the previous month. Granted, the Warriors were not always putting forth their best players in the final games, but it's part of a disturbing trend for Kerr's team - the Warriors dropped to ninth in the National Basketball Association in defensive efficiency this season, and were 14th after the All-Star break.

Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder applies pressure as Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks for a shot during the first half of a National Basketball Association game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on April 3, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans are the longest shots of the playoff teams at 300-1.

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ESPN's Chris Haynes has reported Durant will restructure his deal with Golden State this offseason.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19. Perhaps most impressively, he's protecting the rim for Golden State and averaging 1.8 blocks per game. He has added a defensive element to his game this year making him one of, if not the best two-way player in the National Basketball Association.

With a rash of injuries and tougher competition this year, the Warriors' path to the Finals might be tougher than ever.

Pair that with the fact that Harden has developed a reputation for getting exhausted in the postseason and Paul doesn't exactly have a great track record in the playoffs either, and, well, you can nearly hear the cackling from the Warriors' practice facility from the Lone Star State.

The Warriors had been in the top four in defensive efficiency for the previous four seasons. "That's a bridge too far for me, but anyway..."

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