While there will be a few differences, the Golden State Warriors team that takes the court for the 2017-18 season will be largely similar to the squad that earned a championship in 2016-17. According to general manager Bob Myers, Kevin Durant is the main reason why.
Durant signed a two-year, $53 million deal to return to the Warriors. While that’s certainly a lot of money, it’s well below what a player of his caliber could have earned. According to Myers, if Durant had maxed out, then keeping veterans like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala would not have been possible.
Bob Myers says KD taking a pay cut is why GSW kept Livingston & Iggy: "The roster would be entirely different without him sacrificing."
— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) July 7, 2017
Certainly, the cupboard would not have been bare had that happened. Any team with a top four of Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson is going to be a title favorite.
But the veterans like Livingston and Iguodala have also been integral to Golden State’s success. At the very least, Durant taking a bigger contract would have led to a thinner team and likely a greater adjustment period during the upcoming season. It also likely would have mean the Warriors missing out on adding Nick Young to the mix.
The Warriors and their fans are certainly happy it worked out the way it did. For the rest of the league, it’s a different story.