Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant can leave the Golden State Warriors as a free agent in 2019. In this picture, Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Dec. 3, 2018. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin Durant’s future with the Golden State Warriors continues to be the most talked about topic during the ongoing NBA season with many expecting him to leave the reigning back-to-back champions at the end of the current campaign.

The small forward is almost certain to enter free agency yet again after signing just a short-term deal with the Warriors earlier this summer. He is eligible for a $221 million five-year max contract next summer, but that amount can only be offered by his current employers.

Any other interested franchise can offer him just a four-year deal worth $164 million deal. And that has seen many predict he will remain in Oakland and go on to overtake LeBron James’ three NBA title tally.

However, despite his two NBA Finals MVP awards in the last two seasons – he continues to be criticized for joining a winning outfit in the Warriors. The team will always be Stephen Curry’s owing to the point guard having grown up with the team.

And former Chicago Bulls small forward Scottie Pippen, a six-time NBA champion, believes Durant should leave the Warriors and go and lead a team by himself, which rules out potential admirers Los Angeles Lakers. There is no doubt that the Warriors star is capable of carrying a team on his shoulders like James has done with the Cavaliers or currently doing with the Lakers.

“I would tell him to go off and do it on his own,” Pippen said in the aftermath of their recent overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors when Durant scored 51 points, as quoted by Mercury News.

“What else is left for him? (He needs) to go lead his own team — to be pushed, to be the player he probably has dreamt he could always be,” the six-time NBA champion added. “He could probably be a player that could score 40 points a game.”

Durant has had to play the team game since joining the Warriors from Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 as he is not the only All-Star in the team. They have Curry and Klay Thompson, arguably two of the all-time great shooters.

However, the forward recently showed that given the chance he can shoulder the burden when he averaged 48 points in three games as Curry sat out with a groin injury. Durant has three consecutive 40+ point games.

"The past few years he has been kind of sheltered. He came into a situation where he didn’t want to step on any toes,” Pippen explained. “Now, he can either push forward or continue to kind of hold back. … Does he really want to be that guy that’s pulling back? Or does he want to be that guy that’s coming out every night and you gotta deal with him? A guy who can give you 60 points a night?”

Durant has been linked with a move to the Lakers to join James, while there is also a talk about a potential move to New York to join the Knicks. Going as per Pippen’s comments, the former will be a bad choice as he will again play the right-hand man’s role, while in the latter he will be without a doubt the leader of the team.