Adam Silver: Kevin Durant signing with Warriors is ‘not ideal’ for NBA
Even NBA commissioner Adam Silver knows the Golden State Warriors are stacked beyond belief now that they have signed Kevin Durant.
While speaking to the media after the league’s annual board of governors meeting this week, Silver acknowledged that the current collective bargaining agreement needs to be adjusted in order to maintain the competitive balance across the NBA.
“Just to be absolutely clear, I do not think that’s ideal from the league standpoint,” Silver said of Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “For me, part of it is designing a collective bargaining agreement that encourages the distribution of great players throughout the league. On the other hand, I absolutely respect a player’s right to become a free agent and in this case for Kevin Durant to make a decision that he feels is best for him. I have no idea what’s in his mind or heart in terms of how he went about making that decision.”
Silver said he believes the NBA and the NBA Players Association can still improve the CBA, which was negotiated during the 2011 lockout. Either side can opt out of the current deal next summer, or it will expire in June 2021.
Durant basically became a free agent at a perfect time for both him and the Warriors, and there’s no way the last CBA negotiations could have accounted for his particular case. With the salary cap having increased from $70 million to $94 million this offseason thanks to new TV revenue, the Warriors had enough cap space to sign Durant and keep their championship-caliber core together.
All that said, Silver doesn’t believe Durant’s decision alone means there is an overall issue.
“My sense is some of the player movement we just saw isn’t necessarily a function of market size,” he said. “It’s clearly a case of one particular player’s desire to be in a situation with a group of players that all have already proven that they can win [a championship]. By the way, I don’t mean to be so cryptic. In the case of Kevin Durant, I absolutely respect his decision, once he becomes a free agent, to make a choice that’s available to him. In this particular case, he operated 100 percent within the way of the system, and the same with Golden State.”
Silver wasn’t going as far as Charles Barkley did when he made these comments about Durant, but there are plenty of people who are disappointed the CBA allowed such a super-team to be assembled. In the last negotiation, the NBA pushed for more gradual increases in the salary cap even when new revenue flows in. You can expect that topic to be revisited the next time the two sides get together.