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SportsHow Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond

12:30  12 june  2019
12:30  12 june  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Who ya got? Previewing, predicting the Raptors-Warriors NBA Finals

Who ya got? Previewing, predicting the Raptors-Warriors NBA Finals With just two teams left standing in the quest for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, theScore NBA writers Joseph Casciaro and Joe Wolfond return to break down the 2019 Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. Predictions Casciaro: Raptors in 7 Yup, I think I just picked the Toronto Raptors to win the NBA championship. I've maintained all season that the Warriors would barely survive another championship run before ultimately emerging with a three-peat and then disbanding, but there are a number of factors working in Toronto's favor entering The Finals.

IMPLICATIONS: Injury alters NBA landscape — this summer and beyond . It will be incredibly frustrating for Durant andthe longest stretch of his basketball -playing life without playing basketball . But he can also use it as motivation to return and try to be the kind of player he was before the injury .

IMPLICATIONS: Injury alters NBA landscape — this summer and beyond . If you're the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets or another team with money to spend this summer , do you offer Durant a max contract not knowing if he'll see the court in 2019-20 or, more importantly, if

TORONTO – Rarely is an NBA Finals victory as subdued as Golden State’s Game 5 win over Toronto on Monday.

But rarely does an NBA Finals game see a devastating injury to one of the game’s stars.

Now what for Kevin Durant?

His latest injury sustained in Golden State’s win – and the concern is that it’s an Achilles tear – could have a ripple effect not only on Durant and Golden State’s prospects of winning a third consecutive NBA championship, but on Durant’s future, free agency this summer, the 2019-20 season and the NBA record books.

Draymond Green opened up about his ugly altercation with Kevin Durant and why he refused to apologize the next day

Draymond Green opened up about his ugly altercation with Kevin Durant and why he refused to apologize the next day Draymond Green needed time to give a genuine apology, and when he did, Kevin Durant gave him a response that Green said helped him grow as a person. "He said, 'Well, first off, everybody keeps saying Draymond's emotional and that's just Draymond.' He said, 'As your brother, I'm not giving you that out. I'm not giving you that excuse to use because I've seen you in every situation and I've seen how you handled yourself ... And that's an excuse that everybody's allowed you to have and I'm not allowing you to use that excuse anymore.'" Green said Durant's response was "big" for his own growth.

Kevin Durant could opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent, but his Achilles injury raises new questions about the All-Star' s future.

Kevin Durant ' s torn Achilles altered the NBA landscape . Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Nobody can say for sure how things would have played out if Durant had stayed healthy for the 2019 Finals. But the league landscape has been altered by a dominant player suffering a devastating injury at

The implications are far, wide and deep.

The extent of the injury won’t be known until the Warriors get results of an MRI scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. But there is a clinical exam called the Simmonds-Thompson test which doctors and athletic trainers use to test for an Achilles rupture, according to certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts.

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While the Warriors wait for the MRI, they fear the worst. Late Monday night, emotional Warriors general manager Bob Myers had trouble getting words out in defense of Durant and his desire to get back on the court following the strained calf he sustained on May 8 against Houston in the Western Conference semifinals.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook, Star Wars creator George Lucas, Browns WR Odell Beckham at Game 4 of NBA Finals Click through the slideshow above to see which celebrities attended Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, comedian Dave Chappelle and a host of rappers were in attendance at Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals. In what may have been the final game at Oracle Arena, a whole host of celebrities came out to watch the Toronto Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors 105-92. ALSO: Only in Oakland could this be a Warriors pregame TV panel © Provided by Hearst NewspapersCommon at Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals.Star Wars creator George Lucas and Apple CEO Tim Cook were spotted in the arena, and E-40 and Snoop Dogg participated in NBC Sports Bay Area's pregame coverage.

Kevin Durant ' s injury , wild free agency send shockwaves through the NBA . Editor's Note: The evening after NBA .com published this story, the NBA 's wild offseason ride continued with the reported Russell And there were so many big names out there this summer , which hasn’t happened often.

IMPLICATIONS:KD injury alters NBA landscape — this summer and beyond . TAKE HEED: Durant should be a cautionary tale for athletes everywhere. Beyond everything else that happened in Game 5 from the Kevin Durant injury to Toronto mangling the final handful of possessions after the trophy

Durant’s immediate future

If those worst fears are confirmed, Durant will likely miss next season. Achilles ruptures are not all that common, at least compared to other serious injuries such as torn anterior cruciate ligaments in the knee. Though there have been some serious Achilles injuries across the NBA in recent years, including ones sustained by big-name players: Kobe Bryant, Brandon Jennings, Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and now Durant.

The NBA is looking closely at Achilles injuries because of the potential impact they have on a player’s long-term career. The league doesn’t have a large sample size to study, but it does know the structure of the tendon changes over time and could become more susceptible to a rupture. The NBA is trying to figure out why it happens to some players and not others.

Regardless, it’s an injury that likely sidelines a player for a season and can have an impact on that player’s future. Cousins, who sustained his Achilles rupture in 2018, missed the equivalent of a full season – half of one season, half of another – and then sustained a quadriceps injury 32 games after returning.

How Game 5 turned the NBA Finals — and maybe the Warriors’ future

How Game 5 turned the NBA Finals — and maybe the Warriors’ future TORONTO — Steve Kerr decided to open Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the Death Lineup, a decision that would add drama to Kevin Durant’s return to duty. As if easing into a role, Durant got off the Warriors’ team bus and walked slowly through the arena hallway with his head bent down, black hoodie pulled up, solemn expression on his face, the very vision of the Grim Reaper. Although the Grim Reaper probably wouldn’t — as Durant did — break into the KD tunnel dance, his pregame ritual when the team gathers outside the locker room before storming the court. Once on the court, more dancing. For 12 jaw-dropping minutes, Durant played like he had come to swing his scythe.

Kevin Durant The Offseason FULL Documentary - Продолжительность: 51:42 basketballprosworkouts Recommended for you. Klay says Kevin Durant is above and beyond a ‘splash brother’ with his ability | 2019 NBA Finals - Продолжительность: 11:46 ESPN Recommended

The entire NBA free agent landscape , including the outlook for the Brooklyn Nets this summer , changed when Kevin Durant went down with an Achilles injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals. After leaving Scotiabank Arena on crutches with a walking boot, Durant traveled to New York on Tuesday

The rehab is long and grueling, and there is concern the player will never be the same.

The here and now for Golden State

The Warriors were down 3-1 in the Finals against the Raptors before Durant’s brief return in Game 5. In his short time on the court – 11 minutes, 57 seconds – Durant scored 11 points and made all three 3-pointers he attempted. He helped Golden State to an early 39-34 lead at the time of his injury, and the Warriors extended their advantage to 52-39.

Durant helped Golden State win, and you can argue that if he hadn’t played in Game 5, the series would be over and the Raptors would be celebrating their first NBA championship. His early scoring was necessary for the Warriors to force a sixth game.

Without Durant for the rest of the series, the Warriors have to deal with the emotions of losing a star while combatting the relentless Raptors. Golden State had a 77-63 lead in the third quarter, lost the lead and needed a 9-2 run to close out the game and win by a point.

Coming back from a 3-1 deficit is difficult under any circumstances. Doing it under these circumstances seems particularly arduous. Teams with a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals are 33-1 and just three times have those series been forced to a Game 7.

Kevin Durant's mother puts son's critics on blast with passionate message following injury

Kevin Durant's mother puts son's critics on blast with passionate message following injury Wanda Durant, the mother of two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, posted a passionate message on Twitter early Tuesday calling out her son's critics. She tweeted: "For ALL of you who question my son as a Man, question his Heart, question his Integrity and question his LOVE for the game of basketball, you DON’T know him. He has a heart of a true Warrior! This too shall pass. God Bless you ALL." Durant returned for the first time in a month in the Golden State Warriors' Game 5 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night to keep their three-peat title hopes alive.

There are also potential repercussions for the Warriors' medical and athletic training staff who cleared Durant to play. Don't forget, Chelsea Lane, a highly-respected performance therapist, left the Warriors after last season for a similar job with the Atlanta Hawks. Myers said no one is to blame, but should Durant have played?

Durant and free agency

This summer will change the NBA landscape for at least the next few seasons. Durant can be a free agent along with other stars: Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton.

Who will play where and with whom has been a focal point of this NBA season. What Durant decides to do will impact what other players decide to do. His injury already alters the 2019-20 season.

Durant has options. He doesn’t have to become a free agent. He can choose to opt in to the final year of his contract with the Warriors at $31.5 million and become a free agent in the summer of 2020. How Durant feels about how Golden State handled his injury may play a role, too.

If he decides to become a free agent, he will have suitors who will offer him a max contract despite the fact he will likely miss next season if it’s a ruptured Achilles. That possibly jeopardizes the idea of Durant teaming up with another star – perhaps Irving with one of the New York teams.

Toronto Mayor Defends Raptors Fans After They Cheered For Kevin Durant's Injury At The Game Last Night

Toronto Mayor Defends Raptors Fans After They Cheered For Kevin Durant's Injury At The Game Last Night Drake has called out Raptors fans.

If free agency wasn’t going to be hectic enough, this throws another unknown into the equation.

Durant in the record books

Durant will turn 31 on Sept. 29 – still in the prime of his career age-wise. But he is on the verge of losing a season of his prime to injury. Durant is one of the NBA’s all-time great scorers, a versatile 6-11 forward who can get his shot anytime, at any spot on the court.

He is No. 31 on the league’s all-time scoring list and was – before the injury – two seasons away from moving close to the top 15. At 29, he became the second-youngest player to reach 20,000 career points. There are few players who have ever scored with skill and grace like Durant.

With a long and healthy career, Durant has a chance at passing Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

While passing Abdul-Jabbar is difficult for any player – LeBron James has a chance, too – Durant’s prospects take a hit if his injury is as serious as it's feared to be.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond

Related slideshow: The 2019 NBA Finals (Provided by imagn)

How Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond

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Kevin Durant Has Successful Surgery for Ruptured Achilles

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