Durant will put that plan into motion by declining his $27,734,405 player option.
Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant will decline his player option for the 2017-18 season and technically become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but he will re-sign with the team, league sources tell ESPN.
All signs, according to sources, point to Durant signing another one-plus-one pact, which carries a player-option at the end.
This sets up Durant to re-sign for the Non-Bird Exception, which would pay him $31,848,120 next season (120% of his salary this season). His projected max salary is more than $35 million, but Golden State would need cap space to offer it. This route allows the Warriors to stay over the cap and maintain Iguodala’s and Livingston’s Bird Rights.
The question was whether Durant would sign a 1+1 or long-term deal. Because annual raises are based on first-year salary, a long-term contract this summer would have locked him into a lower salary for years – but provided security. A 1+1 will allow Durant to opt out next summer and re-sign for his max, meaning only one year of taking a discount.
Now, the Warriors have to make good on Durant’s sacrifice by re-signing at least Iguodala.
(If I were Durant, I’d also demand the team re-sign Livingston and use the mid-level exception. If I’m taking a discount, I want the owners maximizing the roster around me. I’m not sure Durant is driving such a hard bargain.)