Kevin Durant says he’s 100% to stay with Warriors, rethinks and sarcastically declares he’ll sign with 2018 champion

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LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency has been ridiculously dissected. Paul George‘s has drawn plenty of intrigue. DeMarcus Cousins‘ saw the wind leave its sales with his injury, but even his future is closely watched for the effect it’ll have on Anthony Davis.

Another 2018 All-Star can also become a free agent this summer, and it has gotten far less attention.

Warriors forward Kevin Durant holds a $26.25 million player option for next season. But there are good reasons nobody outside Golden State is salivating about signing him.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Is it 100 percent, in your mind, that you will be back with the Warriors next season?

“Yeah,” Durant said. “Yeah.”

“Well, actually,” Durant said, his sarcastic grin obvious, ready to lean into an Internet joke about him. “I want to wait to see who wins the championship and whoever wins that, that’s who I’m going to sign with.”

Durant received immense criticism for signing with the 73-win Warriors, probably more than he ever imagined. Nonetheless, it has gone well for him in Golden State so far, with a championship and Finals MVP in his first season. There’s no way he’s leaving and opening himself to more scrutiny.

Good for him joking about the situation, though. He’s clearly coming to terms with how his reputation fits into who he wants to be.

If Durant opts out, his max salary projects to be $35.35 million. If he re-signs for at least two years (not including options), he could receive 8% annual raises – which would cap his projected contract at about $158 million over four years. If he signs another 1+1 contract, he could receive 5% annual raises – which would make his contract worth about $72 million over two years.

Either way (or if he opts in), Durant would have full Bird Rights for his following contract with Golden State. That’d allow him to get 8% raises and five years. He just must time when he wants to accept risk vs. get long-term security.

Of course, Durant won’t necessarily push for the max. He took a big discount last summer and could do the same again.