The transition from life in Oklahoma City to the Bay Area is going so well for Kevin Durant, he is willing to take less than the max to re-sign with Golden State to keep the Warriors core intact, according to a report from ESPN.
Durant is eligible for the 10-year veteran maximum contract after signing with the Warriors last offseason — a deal that would pay him $35.4 million per season but would also hamstring the organization from keeping its star-studded roster together.
Here's more from the ESPN report on what this means in regards to the core and namely two-time MVP Stephen Curry:
Durant's gesture would allow the Warriors to keep their entire core together for years to come even as star point guard Stephen Curry potentially signs one of the first five-year, "supermax" contracts created by the new collective bargaining agreement in which a team can reward one designated veteran player per year with a contract starting at 35 percent of next year's projected $101 million salary cap.
If Durant were to demand the max he's eligible for, it would require the Warriors to renounce the rights of 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and two-way swingman Shaun Livingston, both of which have been valuable contributors for Golden State in its meteoric rise to the top of the NBA. However, if Durant took approximately $4 million less in his next contract and postponed a long-term extension with the Warriors, it would allow the Warriors an opportunity to wield their Bird rights for potentially re-signing both.
The motivation behind Durant's gesture is quite simple: He wants to not only win big with the Warriors in the here and now, but contend for titles for years to come. He can only do that if he has the right supporting cast around him, as he has clearly recognized.
Durant and the Warriors are a perfect 12-0 in the playoffs and begin their run at an NBA title on Thursday night in the Finals where they will take on the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers.