Kevin Durant famously took $9.5 million less than he could have squeezed out of Golden State for next season, which Warriors GM Bob Myers has said helped the team re-sign Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and David West, keeping the core of the championship Warriors together for at least a couple more seasons.
Stephen Curry said he offered to take a discount as well, but the team turned him down because it didn’t matter.
Curry said that to Marcus Thompson II of the new Athletic Bay Area.
Curry said he was willing to take less and told general manager Bob Myers as much.
“I actually asked Bob,” he said. “If I were to take a discount — at any number, I don’t know what it would be — how much of a difference would that make for us to be able to sign other guys. It wasn’t like (Kevin Durant’s) situation. His had a direct impact on us being able to sign Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston). And it was just an unbelievable sacrifice by KD. But mine didn’t matter.”
The difference was “Bird rights” (named after Larry Bird), which allows a team to go over the cap to keep a player who has been on its roster a couple of years. Durant was only with the Warriors for one season, so the team didn’t have his Bird rights, meaning if he opted out and pushed for the max the Warriors would have had to clear out room under the cap to pay Durant that money. To do that, Iguodala and Livingston would have been gone in the least, and maybe much more. To keep the team together, Durant could qualify for a non-Bird cap exception if he asked for 120 percent of his salary from last season ($26.5 million), but he took about $7 million less than that and signed for $26 million (less than he made last season, and $1.7 million less than the player option he declined for next season). And with that, the Warriors stayed together.
In Curry’s case, the Warriors have his Bird rights so they can go over the cap and over the tax line to keep him, and they did inking him to the largest contract in NBA history at five-years, $201 million.
But it was nice of Curry to ask.
Durant can opt out next summer and the Warriors will have his Bird rights then, meaning they can max him out. Expect that to happen. Eventually, the tax bill may get so steep for this team that Warriors ownership — even with all the cash from the new building set to open in 2019 — and a player such as Klay Thompson may leave, but we are a couple of years away from that. For the next couple of seasons, these juggernaut Warriors are together.