That’s the opinion of NBA insider Bill Simmons.
The two-time NBA champion and back-to-back Finals MVP has been linked with a move away from the franchise since before the start of the season.
Due to his one-and-one contract – meaning he can still choose to extend for another year – Durant has complete control over his future, and is expected to opt out of the second year of his deal.
The 30-year-old has been with the Warriors since 2016, in which time he has won back-to-back NBA titles and is on course to win a third this year.
After suffering a calf strain against the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi finals, he is looking unlikely to return until potentially deep into the NBA Finals this year.
In his absence, the Warriors made it past the Rockets in six games, and swept the Portland Trail Blazers – considered by many to be the second-best team in the West – in four games.
And Simmons explained that he believes the Warriors are keen to prove they can succeed without Durant, and the will to do so has stemmed from the superstar’s fight with Draymond Green last year.
In November, the pair were involved in an on-court altercation, with Green allegedly shouting at the forward: “We don’t need you, we won without you. Leave.”
Speaking on his self-titled podcast, insider Simmons explained why the team is still looking to prove everybody wrong after that incident.
“These guys were really driven to prove they didn’t need him,” Simmons claimed.
“That Draymond and KD argument says a lot more than we realised at the time, because that was Draymond saying to him ‘f**k you, you’re leaving anyway’ and that was that whole argument, and it got super personal.
“These guys have thought KD is leaving all year.
“Who else thinks he’s leaving? Everybody else in basketball.
“You were in Chicago, who said to you ‘oh yeah, I heard this KD to the Knicks thing is bulls**t?’ He’s f*****g going there.”
Fellow NBA insider Ryan Russillo agreed, and pointed out that there is no speculation or suggestion at all that Durant will opt to stay in California.
“When everyone says the same thing, I start to get a little worried,” he said.
“Nobody has said to me that he’ll possibly stay.
“There’s times where everybody will say the same thing, think about Kyrie – not just what he said at the start of the season – the message he gave out internally and externally was very positive.
“I don’t know if that was a strategy coming out of Boston, but the KD thing has consistently been [that he’s going to the Knicks] – the only thing I’ve heard any twist is that you’ve got to keep an eye out on Brooklyn.
“There hasn’t been any ‘Golden State feels really good about their chances’ – I haven’t heard any of that.”