When Kevin Durant re-signed with the Warriors last offseason, he did so at a massive discount. The expectation was that he would take less than the max, but nobody expected him to sign the two-year $53 million deal he agreed to. It turns out, Durant didn't plan to stay in that contract for long.
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Durant plans to opt out of his contract in the upcoming summer to restructure his contract with the Warriors. In other words, he's going to set himself up to get paid a lot more money.
Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant plans to decline his player option for the 2018-19 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources tell ESPN.
However, his time on the open market will be brief.
A nine-time All-Star and the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Durant will be turning down a salary of $26.2 million, a figure well below that for a player of his caliber, in order to restructure a new deal with the Warriors, sources said.
It has yet to be decided what contractual route Durant will take, sources say, but there are no real incentives -- for himself or for the team -- to take such a drastic reduction in pay this time around.
With the June 29 deadline looming, Durant will need to make a decision on the final year of his contract soon. If he has any intentions of changing his mind now would be the time. However, according to Marc Stein of the New York times, Durant has already informed the Warriors that he will be opting out to become a free agent.
Just to clarify on Kevin Durant: Friday's deadline compels Durant to opt IN on his $26.3 million for next season if he chooses, but league sources say he has already informed the Warriors that he will let the deadline pass quietly so he can become a free agent July 1— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2018
Will Durant actually shock everybody and not re-sign with the Warriors? That seems unlikely. He just won his second straight title and has won two consecutive NBA Finals MVPs. Everything Durant could have wanted from an accomplishment standpoint has happened with the Warriors -- even if the fit has felt awkward at times.
What will be more interesting to see is how much Durant gets and what that means for everybody around him. Golden State has shown it's willing to spend all the money necessary to keep the Warriors core intact. However, there were rumors ofduring the season. If the Warriors were to ever break up, it would likely have to do with egos eventually getting in the way, or if all these personalities just got sick of each other. Could Durant's contract leading to someone else not being able to get a bigger contract down the line cause problems? It's certainly possible.