Kevin Durant to Become Free Agent And Sign New Deal with Warriors

Kevin Durant will reportedly become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but his foray in the market will be extremely short.

Last year’s NBA Finals MVP will decline his player option for the 2018-19 season and enter the free agency market, turning down a salary of $26.2 million.

However, as reported by ESPN, the decision to become an unrestricted free agent does not mean Durant will leave Golden State, as the 29-year-old will instead restructure his deal with the reigning NBA champions.

GettyImages-944505074 Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on April 8, 2018 in Phoenix. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last summer, the nine-time All Star signed a $51 million two-year deal which included the opt-out clause he will trigger in the offseason. The financial terms of the deal raised eyebrows as a player of Durant’s caliber could have commanded around $10 million more on a max salary. But by agreeing to a discounted deal, the former Oklahoma City Thunder forward allowed the Warriors to retain Shaun Livingston and Andre Igoudala.

"It made sense to do the one-year deal,” Durant told The Athletic in March.

“I'm sure here soon I'll want to sign a long-term deal just to feel stable. But I'm enjoying every moment of it, so I'm not trying to look too far down the line."

If Durant has no intentions of leaving the Bay Area, the Warriors are desperate to hold onto one of their stars, who is averaging 26.6 points, 5.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game this season.

To do so, the 2017 NBA champions will have to pay Durant considerably more than over the last two years but they have a number of options at their disposal.

According to ESPN, the 2nd overall pick of the 2007 draft could sign a four-year max contract worth around $158 million or he could sign a two-year deal with a player option for the 2019-20 season.

This contract would see Durant earn around $30 million for the first year and $31.5 million for the option year and would also give him the chance of opting out again at the end of next season to sign a five-year max contract.

Alternatively, the 2014 MVP could pen a three-year deal which allows him to opt out after the second season. His earnings would grow to $38.2 million in the first year and the option year would be worth $41 million.

Under these terms, Durant would again be able to opt out of the deal after two seasons to seek a five-year deal worth in the region of $228 million, with the first year alone worth $39.4 million.

Should he sign a three-year deal, Durant would be eligible for a no-trade clause by virtue of having been in the NBA for eight seasons and having played for the Warriors for four seasons.