Apparently Kevin Durant did not accept LeBron James’ text message overtures to leave the Golden State Warriors and join the Los Angeles Lakers. Durant will reportedly stay with the Golden State Warriors for at least another season.
Chris Haynes of ESPN is reporting that Kevin Durant will sign a two-year, $61.5 milion deal with the Warriors. The contract is guaranteed for the 2018-19 season. Durant will then have a player-option for the second year of the deal.
Kevin Durant staying with the Warriors is what most people anticipated despite the ESPN bombshell that LeBron James texted Durant to gauge his interest in joining him on the Lakers.
Unless Durant suffers from a severe injury he will opt-out of the second of his Warriors’ contract. Doing that will help the Warriors in a number of different ways in the future.
Re-signing Kevin Durant means that the Warriors are well on their way to have the highest payroll in the NBA with Stephen Curry playing under a deal that will pay him $37.4 million next season. The Warriors also have Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson earning big salaries. Thompson will be an NBA free agent next season. Including the $30 million Durant will take in, the cap numbers become staggering.
For yet another season, Kevin Durant will take less money for the sake of winning.
Kevin Durant could have asked for a similar deal that Stephen Curry has and would have received it from the Golden State Warriors. Had Durant done so, it would have hurt the Warriors flexibility to add additional roster help. Despite winning the NBA championship for a second consecutive season, the Warriors depth was dangerously thin.
With Kevin Durant back in the fold, the Golden State Warriors can now shift their focus toward filling out their roster. The Warriors are still in a good position to add a key free agent and can be players for one of the starter-quality talents that will be available.
This summer, the Warriors will have a mid-level exception to use. However, according to The Athletic, they may choose to fill the roster with minimum salaried veterans instead. Players nearing the end of their primes or career will jump at the chance to join the Warriors as they seek their third NBA championship in a row.
One name that keeps getting mentioned for the Warriors is Dwight Howard. The Warriors’ interest in Howard is lukewarm at best, according to the rumors circulating. A player such as Greg Monroe will be who the Warriors will target.
Next offseason is when the true conundrum begins for the Golden State Warriors. They will have Klay Thompson available to test the market, along with Kevin Durant. Winning championships can only be the cure-all for so long. The Warriors will perhaps experience a defection in 2019.