Kevin Durant Rumors: Free Agent Has 50 Million Reasons To Stay With Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant does not have a shortage of suitors interested in talking with the superstar athlete heading into free agency this summer. But staying with his current Oklahoma City Thunder teammates one more season might be the best option for Kevin Durant in the long term, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday as rumors reignited about his future in the NBA.

ESPN laid out the financial reasons that Kevin Durant should stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder beyond 2016. Although the salary cap will jump by as much as $22 million this season, rumors are suggesting the NBA salary cap in 2017-2018 will experience yet another double-figure jump, Marc Stein declared in his article.

“Were Durant to be a free agent again in July 2017, coming off his 10th season, he’d be eligible for a projected starting annual salary in excess of $35 million — compared to a projected $25.9 million this summer — because of service time and the looming mammoth salary-cap spike into the $100 million stratosphere that will take hold for the 2017-18 season.”

The difference in waiting one season could be as much as $50 million for Kevin Durant, making his return to the Oklahoma City Thunder a financially prudent one. The writer used the maximum contracts that can be signed this year and next to illustrate his point.

“To spell out that difference further: If he plays next season on a short-term deal, Durant would be eligible for a five-year max deal with Oklahoma City in July 2017 that would potentially top $200 million… If Durant simply signed a five-year max deal this summer with the Thunder, it would be valued at an estimated $150 million.”

Sports Illustrated detailed which teams have expressed interest in joining the free agency chase for Kevin Durant. In addition to the Oklahoma City Thunder, nine other teams, including both NBA franchises in Los Angeles, have expressed desires in landing the top free agent to hit the market this summer.

Until the season ended, Kevin Durant would not discuss his possible intentions following the NBA season. Immediately after the Oklahoma City Thunder lost their winner-take-all game seven in the Western Conference finals Monday, Kevin Durant continued to deflect comments about his future home. The Undefeated‘s Marc J. Spears reported that all the superstar would say about his future was whom he would discuss it with this summer, according to comments from Kevin Durant.

“I will talk to my agent, my best friend and my dad. Just talk to those three guys and get some advice from other people. But for the most part, I will talk to them in the next couple of weeks. I don’t even know where my mind is right now. I can’t think about what is going to happen in a month. I’m just thinking about what we’ve all been through as a team and embrace my brothers right now.”

Although he did not admit so publicly Monday night, rumors that Kevin Durant immediately began thinking about his future contradicted what the Oklahoma City Thunder star said to reporters. On Tuesday, ESPN‘s Chris Broussard reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder star has indeed started to consider his future destination.

“Durant told ESPN’s Chris Broussard on Tuesday morning that he has several decisions to make and will sit down with those close to him to decide what he wants to do. Durant told Broussard that he has thought about being a free agent since Monday night’s Game 7 loss… Durant said he recognizes that this summer will be different from any other in his career.”

What do you think about Kevin Durant staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder beyond the 2016 season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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