The NBA free agency market will open up at 12:01 AM ET on Sunday, July 1, 2018, and the first player that is expected to agree to a contract is 2018 NBA Finals MVP, Kevin Durant. Durant is expected to agree in principle to a short-term deal with a player option. Durant was looking for a one year deal, that provides him with the flexibility to extend the one year term, to two years. This type of contract is referred to in the industry as a one plus one contract, meaning the two parties agree that the player will play at least one year but the player has the control in the second year if he wants to remain with the team or depart in free agency.
The deal is expected to earn Durant $30 million dollars in the 2018-2019 NBA Season. If he decides to stay with the Golden State Warriors for the final year of the contract, he will make $31.5 million dollars for that year, subsequently making it a two year, $61.5 million dollar contract.
Durant made it known several days ago that he intended to opt out of his current contract and enter free agency. That being said, there was no intention of ever leaving Golden State, as this was simply a financial move. Durant signed a very similar contract at the end of last year, when he agreed to a one plus one contract, for $51 million dollars, which allowed the Golden State Warriors to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
By taking the lower pay for the one year contract, Durant helps the Warriors with their salary cap and will allow them to sign additional players. Durant’s four-year max contract, had he signed with the Warriors or another team, would have been worth $158.4 million dollars. Spread out over four years that breaks down to $39.5 million dollars per year, compared to his oncoming salary of $30 million dollars.
Kevin Durant has been consistent with his play on the court. Durant averaged 26.4 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 5.4 assists per game in 68 games in 2018. Durant is widely regarded as one of the best Small Forwards in the game and could undoubtedly sign with most teams in the NBA for a long-term max contract, but Durant seems content with signing these short-term, flexible contracts that would allow him to exit if things don’t go as planned with the organization.
Durant has been in the league since 2007 when he was drafted with the #2 overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics, who are now the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant left Oklahoma City at the end of 2016 and became a Golden State Warrior, with the intent of winning championships. Since then, Durant and the Warriors have won two NBA Championships and are building a legacy of Oakland, California. Durant is a nine-time NBA All-Star and was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2012. Durant is a two time NBA Finals MVP and also has won the league’s MVP in 2014.