Those hoping the Kevin Durant–Golden State Warriors marriage would last for just one dominant season are in for a rude awakening—because according to a new report, the 2014 MVP is willing to take a pay cut that could keep the core of the current team together for a long time.
If Durant were to demand a full maximum contract in the upcoming offseason, when he will be a free agent should be opt out of his current contract, the team would not be able to sign Stephen Curry to the newly bargained “supermax” contract—which would pay Curry 35 percent of the salary cap—and keep key role players Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
This would be avoided if Durant takes roughly $4 million less on a one-year deal next year (or a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, for security’s sake). According to ESPN, multiple sources claim Durant is willing to do just that.
By taking approximately $4 million less than his max next year and waiting to get his long-term extension for at least another season, Durant would allow the Warriors a chance to use their Bird rights to re-sign their own free agents (mostly notably Iguodala and Livingston) to deals far more comparable to what they’d likely see on the open market.
Due to concern about ankle injuries, the Warriors signed Curry to a four-year, $44 million contract in the summer of 2013, before he’d made his first All-Star team. Since then, he’s won MVP honors twice and reached the All-Star team in all four seasons. So it’s understandable that the team would be eager to make Curry whole on a big deal this summer.