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Kevin Durant declines Warriors option, opening up market

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NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant is officially an unrestricted free agent. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out the news just before noon

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Durant remains in New York where he underwent achilles surgery (by Nets orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley) at the Hospital for Special Surgery on June 13. The Warriors have said Durant will be out all next season.

The Nets, of course, have been one of the teams rumored to be on KD’s shortlist, along with the Knicks, Clippers as well as the Warriors. The Nets and Warriors are seen as his most likely landing sites.

Brooklyn’s dream summer would have Durant, Kyrie Irving and maybe DeAndre Jordan all under contract by early July. If that happened, it is highly likely D’Angelo Russell will not return, according to various reports.

In the past, it should be noted, KD did not always require teams to go right up to the max. As The Athletic reported Wednesday, he’s left money on the table to help his team create cap space.

The first summer he re-signed with the Warriors, Kevin Durant willingly ducked $9.6 million below his max. Those savings ensured the franchise could retain the rights of two important free agents, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, maintaining a core intent on chasing more titles.

The second summer he re-upped, Durant stayed $5.4 million below his max. Add up all those dodged tax dollars and it saved the Warriors around $20 million, nearly the same amount it cost, penalties included, to shovel the taxpayer mid-level over to DeMarcus Cousins.

Do not expect this one to get done on June 30.