Next year, Golden State will have to do it all over again.
There’s no commitment from Kevin. 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. And 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.
Durant has nine years of NBA experience. Next summer, he’ll have 10 and qualify for the highest tier of max salary. Combined with the salary cap making another sizable jump, Durant stands to earn about $5 million more in 2017-18 by going this route.
He might even sign another 1+1 deal, because the Warriors could offer jut 4.5% raises. It might make more sense to lock in long-term once they can use his Early Bird rights to offer 7.5% raises.
And I think he will lock in long-term. He expressed his intent to re-sign, and I believe it’s sincere. Golden State will obviously want him back, especially because the team should have enough cap space to re-sign him and Stephen Curry. (The exact cap line could determine whether Andre Iguodala also returns.)
Why not just say that? Agreements on future contracts are strictly forbidden by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They commonly happen, but a team executive isn’t going to confirm one publicly.
So, the Warriors must keep up this charade that Durant’s next deal isn’t already agreed to. The system demands it.
That said, a year is a long time. The system also opens possibilities for the best-laid plans to go awry in the next 12 months.