Kevin Durant took the road less often traveled by remaining with the Golden State Warriors this summer. Durant agreed to terms with the team for another two seasons on a below-market deal.
Kevin Durant understands winning right now far outweighs any amount of money he could’ve signed for this summer. Durant and the Golden State Warriors are favorites once again to win the NBA Championship. While other teams strategically placed themselves to challenge the Warriors, Durant simply did the most by taking less money.
“Well, I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going and looking at Andre and Shaun and Steph — they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve. Because they were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve. So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.”
The Warriors had a busy off-season, as general manager Bob Myers negotiated a five-year supermax deal with Steph Curry and three-year extensions with former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and key reserve Shaun Livingston. Durant’s deal includes an opt-out clause after the 2017-18 season that will allow him to work out a long-term deal with the Warriors next summer. If the Warriors are successful in winning another championship next season, the Warriors may have no choice but to offer up on Kevin Durant for the long-term.
Durant understands that winning championships with the Warriors right now will be his best chance to ring hunt. Many around the league expected Durant to return ‘home’ to Oklahoma City to pair up with Russell Westbrook and Paul George or venture to his hometown of Washington D.C. with superstar guard, John Wall. He proved his loyalty to Golden State was about more than just money. He wanted to help other key role players for the team to secure their futures with the team.
If critics wanted money to be the reason for the Warriors demise, then they were disappointed. Durant said critics of his signing were those who wanted to see money break up the team. Other superstars have taken pay cuts in the past to help keep team together for potential championship runs.
“They only [criticized] it because it’s the Warriors and it’s me and they love to hate anything we do right now. A lot of players have [taken pay cuts]. It wasn’t that I wanted the praise. I’ve learned from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki and how it has helped them over the years, and I thought, if they did it, why can’t I? Why shouldn’t I sacrifice? People wanted the money to break us up and I didn’t want that to happen,” Durant said.
His message to teams on the hunt for the Golden State Warriors was direct “Catch us if you can.”