Report: Kevin Durant willing to sign less than max contract with Warriors
Kevin Durant has no intention of leaving the Golden State Warriors if and when he captures his first NBA championship, and he is reportedly willing to take less money than he is entitled to in order to prove that.
Sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Chris Haynes that Durant is open to signing less than a a maximum contract extension this offseason if it helps the Warriors retain all of their free agents. Durant is expected to opt out of the second year of the two-year contract he signed with Golden State last offseason, and he will be eligible to sign for an estimated $35.4 million per year as a 10-year veteran. However, the Warriors can only afford to pay Durant $32 million per year without waiving players to create salary cap space.
Stephen Curry, arguably the NBA’s biggest bargain at $11 million per year, is eligible to sign one of the new five-year “supermax” deals created by the new collective bargaining agreement this summer. That contract would be worth an estimated $205 million over five years.
If the Warriors sign both Curry and Durant to max extensions, they would need to renounce their rights to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston in order to have enough cap space. According to Shelburne and Haynes, Durant will likely sign another two-year deal with a player opt-out — like LeBron James did with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That would allow Golden State to use its Bird rights to re-sign players like Iguodala and Livingston for market value.
Durant has reportedly not made a final decision on how he will structure his next contract, but patience from him could go a long way toward allowing the Warriors to keep their current roster intact. If Durant takes $4 million less than he is entitled to this offseason and then signs another one-and-one deal at approximately $35.7 million the following summer, he can then sign his own “supermax” deal for an estimated five years and $217 million starting in the 2019-2020 season.
Make no mistake about it — Durant is going to get paid somehow. That said, his reported willingness to take slightly less in the short term and give the Warriors flexibility makes it seem like one of his former teammates’ predictions is going to be off-base.