ESPN’s Brian Windhorst floated the possibility on Thursday that the Golden State Warriors could sign Kevin Durant to a five-year max contract in free agency.
The idea here would be for Golden State to get something in return for Durant. The team would help him with his rehab and trade the two-time NBA Finals MVP when he’s eligible to be dealt six months later.
“One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he could get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded,” Windhorst reported. “Potentially to New York, potentially to somewhere else. It would be their way to sort of take care of him monetarily after what he just went through and also protect the franchise and get some assets.”
As great as this sounds for Durant, it’s not going to happen. Sure the Warriors would like to help their injured star out by giving him $57 million more guaranteed than any other team. But that would only be to retain the star forward.
The Warriors would also like to get something in return for Durant should he decide to leave in free agency.
But the idea of moving him in-season to the Knicks or another team isn’t not plausible.
- An in-season trade would require the receiving team to match Durant’s incoming salary.
- As an example, the Knicks don’t even have the assets to make that work right now. Very few teams do.
- Could New York sign someone for the Warriors? Sure, but then we’re looking at a plethora of potential CBA violations and a risk that unnamed player gets injured.
This type of sign-and-trade would also force the Warriors’ medical and training staffs to work with Durant as he rehabs from the ruptured Achilles.
Why would Golden State exhaust that time on a player that’s not going to suit up for the team when Klay Thompson is also recovering from a serious injury?
There’s also a little something called the NBA. If it became clear that the Warriors and another team might be looking at tinkering with the CBA behind the scenes, commissioner Adam Silver and Co. would step in.
Short of Durant re-signing with the Warriors (a real possibility), the likelier scenario here is as follows:
- Durant signs an original four-year, $167 million max contract with Golden State.
- As a way to alleviate the cap burden for the team that acquires him, the Warriors would work out an immediate sign-and-trade.
- In turn, the five-time defending Western Conference champions would get a combination of players and draft picks in return.
The Warriors could hypothetically sign Durant to that super-max contract with the expectation that he sits out next season, only to trade him next July. This would eliminate the requirement from the NBA as it relates to in-season NBA trades.
Then again, that’s about as far-fetched as it gets. Golden State would not take on this type of luxury tax burden when the team is already potentially facing record payrolls in the coming years.
It’s the silly time around the Association. But for someone on the four-letter network to suggest something pretty much impossible borders on recklessness. It also adds another layer to Durant’s issues with the media.