All signs point to Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors sits on the bench during their game against the Denver Nuggets at ORACLE Arena on April 02, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors sits on the bench during their game against the Denver Nuggets at ORACLE Arena on April 02, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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With the playoffs quickly approaching, the elephant in the room for the Golden State Warriors remains the pending free agent status of Kevin Durant.

While the Golden State Warriors will undoubtedly have their sights set on securing yet another NBA Championship, the dark cloud hanging over their heads remains the contract situation of star small forward Kevin Durant.

Durant has been playing some of his best basketball as of late leading the Warriors to big victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets — prior to his ejection — but many believe that this could be his last run with Golden State. Rumors surrounding Durant’s potential departure have swirled for months now but recent reports seem to indicate that he isn’t long for Oakland.

During a recent appearance on FS1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher indicated that Durant leaving was a done deal. Not only that, but Bucher also stated that he would be heading out east to join the New York Knicks.

Another Bleacher Report writer, Howard Beck, indicated that if Durant were to leave to join the Knicks, current Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving would likely leave to join him. The reasonings they have given make sense, but wouldn’t exactly line up with Durant’s motivations to this point.

The Bleacher Report duo specify that despite his overwhelming success in Golden State — including back-to-back NBA Finals MVP awards — Durant hasn’t been able to forge his own legacy with the Warriors. Warriors fans see Stephen Curry as the face of their franchise and for good reason.

He was the centerpiece of the core that was built some years ago now and was the franchise savior long before Durant jumped ship from Oklahoma City. While he has found the success and championships that he was looking for, he is not and will never be as revered and beloved in the Bay Area as Curry is.

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Bucher and Beck indicate that Durant would want to head to New York to build his own legacy. If he were to be able to turn that franchise around — a franchise that has been, for all intents and purposes, a total embarrassment over the past two decades or so — Durant would solidify his own personal legacy.

Durant would be idolized in New York in a way that he never could out west. In a way he never will be in Oklahoma City for obvious reasons.

At the same time, that logic doesn’t exactly appear to line up with Durant’s previous visions. He didn’t come to Golden State to build a personal legacy. He joined the team to succeed and win championships.

And it’s hard to argue that his goals haven’t been achieved and then some.

So then what’s next?

Will Durant continue to put his personal success and championships first or will he instead opt to chase the bright lights of New York and define a legacy of his own?

Many will have opinions on the issue but at the end of the day, none of us are in his shoes, at least figuratively. For now, we will just have to wait and see what his ultimate decision will be.

Next. Golden State Warriors are still the team to beat in Western Conference. dark

The Warriors have bigger things to worry about in the coming weeks, but Durant’s contract situation will undoubtedly be in the back of their minds.

And if rumors are to be believed, this could be Durant’s final playoff run with the team.