Kevin Durant has already said he will opt out of his contract this summer to become a free agent, but don’t expect him to be touring different potential suitors. Durant has been adamant about his desire to stay with the Warriors. His decision to opt-out has more to do with finances, as Durant gave the Warriors a bit of a discount the last two years to allow them to sign role players.
According to Spotrac, Durant has declined his player option for next season that would have paid him $26.25 million. Durant made $25 million this season, which is a lot of money, but puts him behind some of the top paid players in the league. Despite opting out, Durant has already pledged his loyalty to Golden State.
“Yeah, yeah, I feel as though [will return to Golden State],” Durant told the USA Today. “Everything, the money and stuff that’s got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn’t plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I’ve been a part of this league for so long now.”
Durant did include a qualifier that the financial details need to be right. In other words, Durant has no plans to take another discount with the Warriors. Golden State already gave Steph Curry a super-max deal last summer, and Klay Thompson can be a free agent as soon as next summer. So far the Warriors have made the finances work, but pressure is only going to increase as the top players (like Durant) want to get paid. Durant sounded firmly committed to the Warriors in a more recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
“I’m planning on staying with the Warriors, and we’ll figure the rest out,” Durant said, before adding that only the “small details” remained to be figured out.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob told The Athletic he expects Durant to return.
“My understanding is he’s extremely happy, from both Kevin and his manager,” Lacob told The Athletic (via Hoops Hype). “So we have full expectation that he’ll be back. Of course, you know how I feel about this for all these players — they’ve earned the right to be free agents and we can’t assume anything. It’s our job to convince them to want to be with us.”
ESPN detailed Durant’s current contract situation as well as what could be on the horizon this summer.
He took close to $10 million less than what he could have earned on a max salary last year. Agreeing to such terms allowed the team to retain forward Andre Iguodala and backup point guard Shaun Livingston. Sources had told Haynes that there were no real incentives — for Durant or for the team — to take such a drastic reduction in pay this time around…
One of Durant’s options in the offseason would be to sign a four-year, max contract valued at around $158 million. He could also sign another two-year deal with a player option, or a three-year deal with a player option after the second year. He and business partner Rich Kleiman are expected to go over the scenarios in great detail at the conclusion of the Warriors’ postseason run.