MORE: Durant cleared to practice with WarriorsAnd then the injury happened. At the time, Durant’s calf strain, which came in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, looked to be a death sentence for the Warriors. Their lack of depth made them ultra-reliable on Durant’s scoring in the playoffs. But Stephen Curry came alive, James Harden and the Rockets choked and the Trail Blazers didn’t have enough to win even one game in the Western Conference finals.We now sit and wait as Durant feverishly attempts to rehab his strained calf and rejoin his teammates in their run at a three-peat. His ability (or inability) to play against the Raptors will have a huge impact on determining the result of the 2019 NBA Finals. It may also play into his future with free agency on the horizon.How could the outcome of the Finals alter Durant’s decision-making process this summer?Kevin Durant misses the NBA Finals; Warriors win without himDon’t let anyone, including Durant himself, fool you into believing that this isn’t the worst-case scenario for Durant. It would be very damaging for his legacy.Durant’s jump to Golden State was widely viewed as the former Thunder star taking the easy way out. He couldn’t beat the Warriors with his roster in Oklahoma City, so he joined them. While two championships and two Finals MVPs for Durant validated his decision, there are still those who want to put an asterisk next to his rings.He may do and say all the right things, but Golden State going on to three-peat without Durant would sting. It appears that he’s aware of how a Warriors championship with him in street clothes would change how he’s viewed historically against some of the league’s greatest players.I see a little exaggeration there buddy, my worst nightmare?? U sure that this is the worst that it can get???— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 20, 2019Was his addition necessary in order for Golden State to win the past two titles? Or was it simply a luxury? The questions about the validity of Durant’s rings will only grow louder in this scenario.Durant may have no choice but to bolt for another challenge. It’s a situation that would be eerily similar to the path LeBron James took — win two rings in Miami by teaming up with two superstars, then leave to attempt to win one as the signature player for a franchise desperate for any kind of success. A Warriors ring means a Durant exit with New York as a likely landing spot.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors.Kevin Durant misses the NBA Finals; Warriors lose without himor…Kevin Durant returns mid-series; Warriors win with himAre the Warriors more enjoyable to watch without Durant? Yes, but in no way does having the most lethal offensive force in the game sitting on the bench make the Warriors better.Before the Warriors’ Game 1 loss to the Raptors, Golden State was 30-1 when Durant sat and Curry played, but that loss illustrated just how badly the Warriors require Durant’s talents. The length of Toronto certainly affected the flow of the offense. The Warriors desperately needed the security that Durant brings to the floor. When the offense breaks down, just get the ball to Durant. He’s usually is able to bail them out.If they lose without him or he is able to return and lead the Warriors to their third consecutive championship, it will prove once and for all that the Warriors needed him in order to go on their championship run. His doubters will be silenced, at least for a little while.Durant and the Warriors would also have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done since Bill Russell’s Celtics — win a fourth consecutive title. But will the validation that a third ring would bring and the opportunity for a fourth be enough to make Durant’s return to Golden State more likely? Not exactly.Durant has checked every box while in the Bay Area. There is nothing left that he hasn’t already accomplished. Another championship with the Warriors might not be worth as much to him as turning around a struggling team and the fanfare that would come with it.Plus, Durant saw the way his teammates played against Portland. He witnessed the renewed sense of joy that they brought to the court. The patented ball movement that made the Warriors of old so fun to watch was back in a big way.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors, but he seriously considers chasing history if they win the title.Kevin Durant returns mid-series; Warriors lose with himAll great teams eventually get beat or break up. Michael Jordan’s Bulls disappeared with his retirement. Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers ran into the Pistons before an ugly divorce. We could be watching something very similar unfold.If Durant’s return still isn’t enough for the Warriors to get past the Raptors, a logical endpoint would emerge for the Warriors-Durant relationship. The Warriors fell into a 3-1 hole in the NBA Finals with a loss at Oracle Arena on Friday night, but the play on the court is taking a backseat to the treatment in the training room.For the entirety of the 2018-19 season, the chatter around Golden State kept coming back to the possibility of Kevin Durant’s final run in a Warriors uniform. From the early-season altercation with Draymond Green to Durant’s tense relationship with the media, this has mostly felt like a swan song, the last run by one of the greatest teams ever assembled. The Warriors won a title without Durant back in 2015, and with their core still in place, losing Durant doesn’t seem to be a major concern. Durant could walk off the floor at the end of the Finals proud of what he has done with Golden State but ready for a new challenge.A loss to the Raptors ends the dynasty. The summer will bring questions about where the Warriors go from here. Durant leaving for New York or Los Angeles will be accepted. Klay Thompson will be a free agent. But at least we’ll get to see this group make one more run.Verdict: Durant leaves the Warriors.