As expected by just about everyone in basketball, Kevin Durant is planning to return to the Golden State Warriors this offseason as a free agent, but get ready to see him in free agency again next offseason.
According to The New York Times’ Marc Stein and ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Durant is planning to request a one-year deal with a player option from the Warriors when free agency begins. The guaranteed year will give Durant a salary of $30.5 million.
Kevin Durant intends to sign a two-year max deal with a player option to stay with Golden State, league sources tell ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 1, 2018
The new deal would pay Durant $30.5 million next season and allow the two-time reigning Finals MVP to return to free agency in July 2019 — three months before Golden State moves into the new Chase Center in San Francisco https://t.co/Q3qklVsrkz
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 1, 2018
Kevin Durant and ‘Whatever deal he wants’
Shortly after the Warriors’ finals sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers, owner Bob Myers told reporters that the Warriors would give Durant “whatever he wants” in free agency. What Myers likely hoped that would mean was Durant signing a max contract and staying with the Warriors long-term. Clearly, Durant is taking a different course.
With only one year guaranteed in his new contract, Durant will likely hit free agency yet again next offseason in the hopes that he could take advantage of a higher salary cap and possibly sign an even bigger deal than the four years and $160 million he was eligible for this offseason.
Kevin Durant’s 1+1 deal would pay him $30.0M next season, and enable him to become a free agent next summer. He’d then be eligible to sign a five-year, project $221M max contract. That would be $251M over the next six years (through age 35).
— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) July 1, 2018
While the Warriors probably just want their NBA-dominating core locked in for as long as possible, Durant’s move will at least give them a significant amount of luxury tax bills this offseason.
The Kevin Durant contract is for $30M and $31.5M with a player option in year 2. The $5M Durant savings this year now offsets the $5.3M tax midlevel if Golden State elects to use it. Durant would save the Warriors $20M in projected luxury tax costs.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 1, 2018
Unfortunately for the Warriors, that help stops once free agency begins in 2019. Durant, along with Klay Thompson, will likely enter free agency and after leaving plenty of money on the table for the Warriors last year, he does not seem interested in giving the team a discount again.
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