NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant will decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent, but will re-sign with the Golden State Warriors, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick.
The person requested anonymity because formal negotiations have not yet taken place.
Durant will likely take less than the maximum salary in order to improve the Warriors’ odds of retaining their free agents.
Steph Curry is also a free agent and is expected to sign a designated veteran’s maximum for five years and $205 million. At the conclusion of last season, Curry was the Warriors’ fourth-highest paid player at $12.1 million, trailing Durant, Thompson and Green.
The Warriors are also trying to retain free agent Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and other role players.
ESPN.com first reported the Durant news.
Durant was due to make $27.7 million this season. But he is expected to sign a one-year deal with another option so he can sign his longterm max deal next summer when the Warriors would have his Bird rights.
The Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to one to win the NBA championship and Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists to win the MVP.
Durant, who had been criticized for signing with the Warriors in the offseason because he was just chasing a ring, told USA TODAY’s Sam Amick that it was more about him being part of this team.
“Yeah, I hear all the narratives throughout the season that I was joining, I was hopping on bandwagons, I was letting everybody else do the work,” Durant said. “But then that was far from the truth. I came in and tried to help my team. Like I said, tried to be myself, be aggressive and sacrifice as well.”
At the team’s exit interviews last week, Durant told reporters that they wanted to stay together and try to win another title.
“It’s a special team, a special group,” Durant said. “It’s a business of basketball, obviously, so nothing is for sure, but here, I feel like we can work that out and everybody will have a chance to do this again next year. It’s easier said than done obviously, but that’s the goal. We want to keep this thing together.”
Source: Kevin Spain| USA Today