NBA Rumors: Kevin Durant Willing To Take Less To Keep Golden State Warriors’ Core Intact

Apparently Kevin Durant sees a long-term future with the Golden State Warriors. There is an NBA rumor which would further prove his desires to play for the Warriors for the foreseeable future.

According to what sources inside of NBA circles have told ESPN, Kevin Durant is willing to take a deal smaller than the league maximum in order for the Warriors to retain other players. Durant not taking a max contract would allow the Warriors to not have to completely cut ties with a couple of key free agents.

The two players listed in the report is forward Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors would like to retain both players if they can, along with Durant.

Forward Andre Iguodala is likely to leave as a free agent. The impact of Durant taking less money would allow the Golden State Warriors keep a cap hold for him, thus creating a situation for a sign-and-trade. Expect that to be the case as he is expected to test the market.

The free agency market is going to be different for each of the Warriors’ available players. This includes guard Stephen Curry. He is eligible to sign the NBA’s super maximum contract worth over $200 million. There will be a few teams which will take a run at Curry, but finding another team that will sign him is a different story. Because the Warriors can pay Curry the most money, no one expects him to leave the team. In fact, he may also be willing to accept a mere reasonable bump in pay to ensure that the Warriors can keep Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant talks to ESPN after practice.
Golden State Warriors' forward Kevin Durant has taken a liking to the extra media coverage and expectations playing for a title contender. He is reportedly pleased enough to take a pay cut in order to keep things going. [Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]

Retaining Livingston is not a slam dunk, but if Kevin Durant does decide to take less money, it would be easier to keep the 6-foot-7 point guard.

For everything to happen, Kevin Durant must first opt out of the second year in his two-year contract. The reason why Durant had his deal structured as a two-year agreement (courtesy of the NBA website) with a player-option in the second year was due to Curry’s pending free agency status. It was also a way for Durant to get a feel for the Warriors as a potential place to play long-term. If it works out and the Warriors win their second title in three seasons, the forward will likely plant his flag with the team.

Durant doing so will be costly for the Warriors, but they will have a championship to show for it.

The largest annual salary that Kevin Durant can sign for is $35.4 million. Taking $4 million less a season would go a long way for the Warriors, who can keep either Livingston or Iguodala if they choose to.

Kevin Durant has taken a liking to playing for the Golden State Warriors. He views the team as a destination where he can finish out his career (courtesy of Bleacher Report).

“Obviously I’m thinking about the playoffs right now, so I haven’t thought about it that much. But I don’t plan on going anywhere else. Obviously you want to keep this group together. We want to see how far we can go with this thing, but I’m sure once the season is over with, we’ll figure that stuff out, everybody. I’m sure it will all work out for the best.”

With only Stephen Curry to lock up contractually, the Golden State Warriors can keep the primary pieces intact for a dynasty-building run for the next three seasons at least. Of course, injuries, attrition, and some roster turnover will take place. It would only be natural if the Warriors have some slippage at times, but they could be the class of the NBA for a few years.

Because Durant would opt out, it does not eliminate the possibility for other teams to target him. It is a certainty the Miami Heat will make another run at him. Another team to keep an eye on is the Boston Celtics. The Celtics were the runner-up in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes last summer. They will have a great amount of cap space and could set Durant up easily.

In the end it will come down to the Golden State Warriors and how much money Kevin Durant is willing to sacrifice. There are potential problems that could pop up this offseason, but those things may be simple fixes.

[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]