Kevin Durant went into the summer saying he would take less than the maximum contract he could have squeezed out of Golden State, all in the name of helping the team retain key reserves — which they did. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and David West all will return.
Now it’s time for Durant to get paid. It was expected he would take the max 20% raise the Warriors could give him on an extension of his own deal — a contract starting at $31.6 million — which shaved about $3 million off of what he could have gotten. However, he’s going to take even less than that a story first broken by Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News.
Durant, according to multiple sources, is not just passing on the new maximum contract he could get, which would start at $34.65 million. His plan is to also take entire raise he is eligible for, which would start his salary at $31.6 million.
Could he go as low as $28 million? Or $25 million?
The exact figure is being worked out now, but Durant’s willingness to take even less than his expected 20 percent bump is how the Warriors were able to sign Andre Iguodala for $48 million and Shaun Livingston for $24 million, both over three years.
Chris Haynes of ESPN then came in with the details.
This is a $9 million one-year gift from Durant. He will sign a 1+1 contract, opt-out next year and can get a max contract starting at the near $35 million number.
It’s a big gift. Warriors ownership is understandably concerned about the tax bill they have coming — have you ever heard of a rich guy good with any tax? — and this will help reduce that number for a year. It’s a gesture to the team and franchise that he prioritizes winning. Sam Amick of the USA Today also threw in this note.
Durant wasn’t just the Warriors’ Finals MVP, he has been their summer MVP as well.