Kevin Durant will sign a two-year deal to return to the Golden State Warriors worth somewhere between $51 and $53 million with a player option in the second season, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been finalized.
The irony? The rich get richer because Durant was willing to leave so much money on the table.
Durant was eligible for a maximum salary deal that would have started at $34.5 million this summer, but it would have required the reigning NBA champions to renounce the rights to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston (who have both agreed to re-sign). Even with those moves, he was still eligible for a deal that could have started at $31.5 million but is expected to take a starting annual salary between $25-26 million as a way of lessening the luxury tax blow for owner Joe Lacob and his group.
Durant is expected to opt out of this contract next summer, and will likely sign another one-plus-one deal before eventually landing a long-term maximum salary deal with full Bird rights in the summer of 2019.
After coming to terms with point guard Steph Curry on a five-year, $201 million maximum salary deal on Saturday, the Warriors are still expected to re-sign center Zaza Pachulia and also hope to land free agent Nick Young. The veteran guard known widely as “Swaggy P” has been recruited by Durant and Warriors forward Draymond Green in recent days.