Warriors President on Kevin Durant: ‘There’s No Commitment’ Beyond Next Season

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

After Kevin Durant plays the 2016-17 season with the Golden State Warriors, what happens next is anyone's guess. He'll be able to sign anywhere. And he just might.

Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

This at least according to Warriors president Rick Welts, who took time during an interview CBS Sports Radio to make a show of reminding listeners that Durant is on a two-year contract with a player option for the second year. This means he can turn around and sign with whatever team he likes in the summer of 2017.

"There's no commitment from Kevin," he said. "He signed a one-year contract with a player option. So I think the hope and expectation is there's a business reason for doing that more than there is a basketball reason for doing that. We've got to be a place that is as good as he thought it was when he selected the Warriors over the other options that he had. I think we're going through a really interesting time in our league. We're all trying to figure out what the new world is going to look like."

Well, then. Fire up the rumor mill! Where's he going next, guys?!

Just kidding.

While it's true Durant can walk after the upcoming season, few believe that will happen.

The salary cap is projected to jump from $94 million to $102 million next offseason, meaning maximum contract players' new salaries grow as well. Next offseason Durant will be in line for the considerably larger 10-year veteran max, and incumbent teams can offer their players more years and more money than new ones. So it made the most financial sense for Durant to sign the essentially one-year deal with Golden State this offseason rather than sticking with the Oklahoma City Thunder for another year before bailing.

At the same time, NBA teams are often believed to make handshake arrangements regarding future contracts to tap-dance around the legal issues that come up when plotting future contracts.

Still, given what happened this summer, it's not unreasonable to think something could sour Durant's experience in Golden State—or make another destination even more to his liking. Then—and only then—will we fire up the rumor mill.

 

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