Two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant is slated to become a free agent at midnight Sunday morning. There’s absolutely no reason to think he’s leaving the Golden State Warriors after earning a title in each of his first two seasons with the team.
The only drama here is whether Durant will sign another two-year contract with an opt out like he did last season or go with the full five-year max contract.
According to this report from Anthony Slater of The Athletic, it seems that Durant is leaning heavily in the direction of another short term deal. If so, it would save the Warriors north of $5 million against next year’s cap, increasing the likelihood that the champs use their mid-level exception in free agency.
It would represent the second consecutive summer that Durant has taken less to help the Warriors maintain or add to their championship core. By doing this last July, Durant helped the Warriors retain free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Why is this so significant? Golden State’s use of the near $6 million exception would cost the organization about $25 million due to it being well over the luxury tax threshold for multiple seasons.
It’s also significant in that Golden State is reportedly set to make a run at Los Angeles Clippers free agent big man DeAndre Jordan.
Such a move would require Jordan to take a deal starting at the taxpayer midlevel exception of $5.3 mil — which would cost the Warriors more like $27 mil next season. But it has been whispered around the Warriors for months that they will at least explore making a run at Jordan https://t.co/YMkABpbq3v
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 30, 2018
While it’s highly unlikely that Jordan would accept the exception after opting out of his $24.1 million deal with the Clippers, he’s friends with Durant and his former agent, Bob Myers, is currently the Warriors GM.
Stranger things have indeed happened.