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Kevin Durant: If I take another $10 million pay cut, Warriors ‘going to start taking advantage of me’


Kevin Durant will re-sign with the Warriors. He has already confirmed that.

But for how much?

For most players of his caliber, it’d be simple. The max salary – projected to be about $35 million – would be his salary. The only question would be whether he takes another 1+1 deal (with a 5% raise to the option year and the ability to sign for five years and 8% raises on his next contract with Golden State or a four-year deal (with 8% raises).

With Durant, there’s much more uncertainty.

He took a big pay cut last summer – some of it for no clear reason. Durant’s max salary was $34,682,550. By accepting $31,848,120 or less, he allowed the Warriors to keep Andre Iguodala‘s and Shaun Livingston‘s Bird Rights and more easily re-sign the pair. But Durant went even further – signing for $25,000,000.

That’s a $9,682,550 reduction from his true max and a $6,848,120 from the Non-Bird max that would have facilitated re-signing Iguodala and Livingston.

Durant, via Warriors Plus/Minus

Money has never been the sole reason why I made any decision. I just try to make a good basketball decision. And I’m sure, hopefully, the organization does right by me, as well. That stuff always has to align. But, for the most part, I try just to let my play do the talking and handle all that stuff. And we’ll talk about the details later.

Would he take another pay cut? Durant:

$10 million? Would that be smart?

Podcast host Tim Kawakami noted he wouldn’t have thought Durant would take such a big pay cut last year. Durant:

Me either. But I thought that, at that time, it was a good deal. But that’s not setting a good precedent for me if I’m like, “Man, I’m taking 10.” Now, they’re going to start taking advantage of me. You know what I’m saying? I know it’s a business, too. So, I’ve got a business to handle as well.

We’ll see what happens, but I don’t see myself taking that big of a cut.

Durant’s pay cut was obviously a short-term boon for the Warriors. They re-signed Iguodala and Livingston because of a portion of it. The additional reduction Durant took roughly covered Nick Young‘s salary – or, if you believe Golden State would have signed Young anyway, went straight into ownership’s pockets (multiplied by the luxury-tax savings).

But I’ve long wondered what the pay cut would mean for Durant and Golden State long-term.

Would he be more or less willing to take future pay cuts because of this one? How many pay cuts would he take? If it were a one-time offer, could the Warriors have waited for a different year? Was 2017 the only year he was willing?

Stephen Curry is already guaranteed a super-max contract through 2022. Klay Thompson will be a free agent in 2019, Draymond Green in 2020. Both will be due raises. In the highly likely event the Warriors pay the luxury tax next season, they’d face the repeater rate in 2020.

This team will get expensive in a hurry – to the point it could become unaffordable.

Durant taking a pay cut later, considering the luxury-tax implications, would go much further than it did this year. But if he wants every dollar from now on – which increasingly sounds like his approach – Golden State could face some tough decisions.

Nets reportedly extend Caris LeVert on 3-year, $52.5 million deal

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The Brooklyn Nets have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and that’s going to be important for the next half-decade or so. Those two players will shoulder the bulk of Brooklyn’s championship hopes over that time frame.

But so too is it important for the Nets to keep a strong team around its superstars. Too many teams seem to end up top heavy as they try to chase championships year after year.

To that end, Brooklyn has reportedly signed their own budding star Caris LeVert to an extension that takes him through 2023.

Via ESPN and Twitter:

LeVert’s extension starts at $16.2 million in 2020-21 and escalates to $17.5 million and $18.8 million in the next two years, ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported.

The deal gives LeVert security and a chance to return to free agency or negotiate an extension before his 28th birthday.

LeVert’s extension is worth a reported $52.5 million, which makes him reasonably paid within the team context and should give him a chance to cash out yet again before he hits age 30.

This season will be an interesting look into how LeVert and Irving work together on the floor without Durant. They can get into some kind of rhythm and find an understanding between them, which is going to be vital for when Durant eventually returns in 2020.

Team USA sees betting odds in World Cup skew downward

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Team USA is 12 man roster is now set, and they are prepared to take on the rest of the world in the 2019 FIBA World Cup In China with summer.

The United States finally lost a game for the first time in 13 years on Saturday, falling to Patty Mills and Australia, 98-94.

But despite that loss, the United States is still the odds-on favorite to win the World Cup this year. Then again, their odds have started to slip since the start of the summer.

According to Westgate, the United States is favored at 4/7 to take home the gold. Team USA originally opened at 1/5. Now some other teams have moved up in oddsmakers’ minds.

Via Westgate and Action Network:

  • United States: 4/7
  • Serbia: 2-1
  • Greece: 10-1
  • Spain: 20-1
  • France: 25-1
  • Australia: 30-1
  • Lithuania: 60-1
  • Canada: 100-1

Serbia seems like a pretty good shot to usurp the throne for the United States. Nikola Jokic has said that he wants his team to medal, but no doubt he and his squad will be looking for a gold medal.

The United States is suffering from a lack of continuity and star power. That might not matter given that Gregg Popovich is still the head coach and USA Basketball far out matches other countries in terms of raw talent.

But as we saw in 2004, talent doesn’t trump all when it comes to Team USA. The door is open for other countries to grab the top spot for the time being, and oddsmakers think so as well.

Rui Hachimura pumped when friend Sumo wrestler Hakuho drains free throw

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Rui Hachimura, the Gonzaga star drafted ninth by the Washington Wizards, is having a blast this summer playing for his native Japan as their national team gears up for the World Cup in China starting in one week.

However, he may never have been more pumped than when his friend, legendary sumo wrestler Hakuho, came out in his robes and drained a free throw.

The Wizards have to get Hakuho to a game this season, let him take a few shots during a timeout. We all need to see this.

And Hakuho was nothing, another sumo wrestler walked out in robes and drained a straight-on three.

I need to see a sumo wrestler pickup game now more than I need anything else in my life. I want to see the battle for post position.

Hachimura has played well for Japan, he dropped 31 points on Germany in the final tuneup game for the World Cup, showing off a comfort level from the midrange that is impressive. He hit shots off the dribble and on the catch.

Hachimura and Japan are in the same group as Team USA in the World Cup, and the two teams face off Sept. 3 in Shanghai.

Enes Kanter says he might add ‘American’ name once he’s a U.S. citizen (VIDEO)


Enes Kanter has been dealing with being a man without a country for some time. The Turkish-born Boston Celtics center has openly criticized Turkish president Recep Erdoğan, And as such he is no longer welcome back in his home country.

In fact, Kanter didn’t have a valid Turkish passport this past spring, so the question of whether he might be able to re-enter the United States if he went to Canada was raised by several Portland Trail Blazers fans, including Senator Ron Wyden.

Kanter has been in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen for some time, and he appears close to that goal. As such, Kanter mentioned this week that he might add an “American” name onto his name when that happens.

Speaking to TMZ, Kanter said that, “I’m actually becoming a U.S. citizen in two years: I’m actually thinking about adding an American name. I’m still thinking about it. I don’t know yet.”

One of the newest Celtics, Kanter appears to have a diplomatic way about him and the ability to network with folks higher up. Given amount of time, resources, and potential political power behind him as an NBA player, there is hope that he will become an U.S. citizen.

Whether Kanter really wants to add an ”American” name — whatever that’s supposed to mean — is anyone’s guess. One of the founding principles of this country is the concept of the melting pot, and so a great American name for Enes Kanter would be… Enes Kanter.