One day shy of a year after announcing his decision to join the powerhouse Warriors, Kevin Durant took far less than he could have to help make sure they stay winners and chase more championships. KD agreed to terms on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) on a contract worth approximately $53 million over the next two years.
Still exhilarated from his first career title, Durant has made it clear he hopes to build a dynasty alongside Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Durant’s new contract calls for about $25 million in the first year with a player option for the second season, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity Monday because it won’t become official until the end of the free agency moratorium period Thursday.
As he planned all along to provide the Warriors with financial flexibility, Durant waited as Golden State general manager Bob Myers signed the other free agents — Curry for a record $201 million over five years; 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala on a three-year contract with $48 million guaranteed; fellow key reserves Shaun Livingston for $24 million and three years, and David West on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum $2.3 million.
Last Thursday, Durant declined to opt in for the $27.7 million second year of his previous deal with the Warriors and became an unrestricted free agent. The move was expected as Durant insisted when the season ended that he would do his part to keep the core of the roster intact. He could have signed a max deal that would have paid him millions more next season, but that contract will come soon enough. He is expected to decline the player option next year and sign for the maximum then.
He and Curry vowed to do whatever they could in negotiations to ensure Myers had money to work with to keep as many of the others as possible.
Durant, villainized for his choice to bolt OKC, made it clear he wasn’t going anywhere. The 28-year-old forward had been projected to receive a 20 percent raise over the $26.5 million he made last season, which would have been about $31.8 million.
After he missed 19 games with a left knee injury, Durant returned to the floor late in the regular season with his Warriors on a roll and declared he would take his game to another level come playoff time.