The Warriors rolled through the playoffs thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant this past season. But, the offseason looked to present bigger challenges for the team with Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston all set to be free agents in addition to Kevin Durant who, as expected, declined his player option. Curry and Durant were both eligible for max contracts, but, had they both taken them, the team would have likely lost either Iguodala or Livingston and maybe both.
However, that situation didn’t play out. Durant waited until after the other three had agreed to re-sign with the team before signing a two-year $53 million deal, which is about 10 million less per season than he could have earned via a max contract. This selfless act impressed Durant’s head coach, Steve Kerr, who praised his superstar on Monday when speaking to the Bay Area News Group calling it a “remarkable gesture”. More from Kerr’s conversation Anthony Slater:
“I told him it reminded me a little bit of Tim Duncan and his time with the Spurs. He made max money and then at key times in his career he took a little less so they could add a player here and there. The way the league works, the way the CBA works, it really kind of is up to the star player at key times to take a little haircut here and there. Whether that’s fair or not, I don’t know. But I do know that Tim knew it was dramatically helping his own career and KD understands the same thing.”
Now, Durant does have another player option in this new contract for the 2018-19 season that, in all likelihood, he would decline to re-enter the market next year as a free agent and sign that max deal. But, to Kerr’s point, Durant did take a more team-friendly deal in order to allow the team to bring back key role players in Iguodala and Livingston, something that Duncan did multiple times towards the tail end of his career.