The deadline for Kevin Durant to opt into his contract with the Warriors for next season passed today without him doing so, making the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP a free agent — yet his intention has always been to stay put and re-sign with Golden State.
Source: Associated Press
Much like a year ago, Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his deal, allowing him to work on a more lucrative contract once the signing period begins tomorrow.
Durant only had to inform the Warriors if he planned to opt in, and the team had long been prepared for this move — merely a procedural decision — knowing his plans for months.
The 29-year-old Durant could sign for as many as four years and about $160 million. He has made clear all along his commitment to the Warriors, especially after winning a pair of championships in his first two seasons with Golden State.
A year ago, Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. That also was expected as he wanted to do whatever he could to give the franchise financial flexibility to keep the core of the team intact to chase more titles.
Then, the Warriors won another one earlier this month — and Durant hoisted the MVP trophy a second time.
After the season, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Golden State would reward Durant with "whatever he wants."
"Sometimes you don't negotiate. I'd love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year, he did us a great service," Myers said. "He's earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants. I just want him to sign a deal. But want him to be happy and want him to know that we want him as long as he wants to be here.
"He's earned that, to kind of lay out the terms. He can do whatever he wants. That shouldn't be a long negotiation. Our goal, to be honest, is to try to keep the whole thing together, so that's the pieces of the puzzle we've got to try to figure out."
Durant, recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist award for this past season honoring all his charity efforts, led the Warriors to a finals sweep of LeBron James and the Cavaliers by averaging 28.8 points — he shot 52.6 percent and 40.9 from 3-point range — 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.00 blocks.
That's after last postseason when he averaged 28.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 55.6 percent and scoring more than 30 points in nine of his 15 games on the way to a first career championship in his 10th NBA season.