Kevin Durant will technically hit the open market.
Kevin Durant will decline the player option in his contract for the 2017–18 season but will re-sign with the Warriors, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports.
Durant signed a two-year, $54 million contract with Golden State last summer. Exercising the 2017–18 option before the July 1 deadline would guarantee him nearly $28 million in salary, $10 million more than his next highest-paid teammate, Klay Thompson.
Haynes and Ramona Shelburne had previously reported that Durant would be willing to take less than the maximum salary in order to help the Warriors retain their numerous free agents. Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala all have their contracts expire on July 1, among others. Haynes now reports that Durant is expected to sign a two-year deal worth about $4 million less than the maximum, including another one-year player option. (The max value will be set in early July when next season’s salary cap is announced.) Doing so will give the Warriors space to use their Bird rights on Iguodala.
Iguodala, though, “plans to seriously consider” leaving the Warriors once he hits the open market, Yahoo’s Shams Charania reports.
Durant, like Curry, is eligible for a much more lucrative long-term extension, a maximum contract worth 35% of the salary cap, but the team is only allowed to give such a deal to one player each off-season. Curry is all but assured to receive that contract this summer, clearing the way for Durant to sign the same deal next summer, if he chooses to.
Durant’s decision to stay in Golden State next season should not come as a surprise. He has made it clear repeatedly that he plans to remain with the Warriors for a while.