NBA free agency officially will kick off Sunday, and most of the free-agent crop likely will await the decision of one Kevin Durant before choosing their next move.
The Warriors' star forward ruptured his Achilles during Game 5 of Golden State's NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors and will miss all of next season as he rehabs what could be a career-altering injury.
While it has been reported that the injury won't affect Durant's free agency, a couple of would-be suitors reportedly have dialed back their interest following the injury, Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported Monday.
"One league executive said the Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, who were both at one point interested, have backed off their pursuit because they are focused on building off their playoff success this past season," Bucher writes.
Durant's options always have appeared to be between staying with the Warriors or leaving for the bright lights of New York -- whether it be the Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets -- so perhaps this is more of two teams realizing they had zero shot at the two-time NBA Finals MVP, and therefore are best served by moving on to other targets.
With the Clippers and 76ers reportedly out of the picture, that leaves three teams with a realistic shot at landing Durant. Although, if you ask Andre Iguodala, the Knicks and Nets should just give up their dreams of landing the 2014 NBA MVP.
Golden State has a big decision on its hands when it pertains to Durant, and the Warriors reportedly have discussed the possibility of orchestrating a "delayed sign-and-trade" with Durant. The idea is to give Durant the max contract, allow him to rehab and then trade him where he wants to play, which would allow the Dubs to acquire assets for one of the NBA's best players, should he inform them that he wants to leave.
Many free agency dominoes are set to fall this summer, and Durant's decision should be the first one in a wild summer.