Du­rant opts out; plans to re-sign

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Oakland, Calif. — Kevin Du­rant re­port­edly de­clined to opt in for the sec­ond year of his con­tract with Golden State and will be­come an un­re­stricted free agent, an ex­pected move for the NBA Fi­nals MVP who said he plans to do his part to keep the core of the cham­pion War­riors intact to chase more ti­tles.

When the sea­son ended, Du­rant made it clear he plans to stay with the War­riors. Du­rant, 28, was due to earn more than $27.7 mil­lion for 2017-18 yet said he would go this route to pro­vide the fran­chise with fi­nan­cial flex­i­bil­ity so Golden State gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers might be able to re­tain other key mem­bers of the group — like key re­serve and 2015 Fi­nals MVP An­dre Iguo­dala. Then Du­rant could re­ceive his max deal a year from now.

Du­rant now will need to be­gin work­ing out a new deal once the free agency pe­riod be­gins Satur­day, but might wait to see how things play out with his freeagent team­mates be­fore sign­ing. He is ex­pected to gain a 20 per­cent raise over the $26.5 mil­lion he made last sea­son and would earn about $31.8 mil­lion. Du­rant had a dead­line of Thurs­day to make his de­ci­sion.

“It means a lot. It just shows the com­mit­ment when a guy’s will­ing to take less, the com­mit­ment to the team,” De­fen­sive Player of the Year Dray­mond Green said Wed­nes­day. “You look at the sit­u­a­tion, some­times you have to do that in or­der to make things work. I took less so we could go and get Kevin. And it worked out. If you want to keep great teams, keep ev­ery­thing aligned, some­times you have to do that. You have to be will­ing to sac­ri­fice.”

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry also has in­di­cated while he is thrilled to be up for a ma­jor raise with a new su­per-max deal, which could put him at the $205 mil­lion mark, he also is com­mit­ted to win­ning.

“It’s amaz­ing to have that kind of tal­ent and hu­mil­ity and the team-ori­ented de­meanor that both guys have,” coach Steve Kerr said last week.

Iguo­dala has full Bird rights, mean­ing the War­riors can ex­ceed the salary cap to re­tain him.

Curry, who won the MVP the past two years and earned $12 mil­lion this sea­son, scored 28.1 points in the play­offs with 6.7 as­sists and 6.2 re­bounds.

Slam dunks

Guard Jrue Hol­i­day and the Pel­i­cans re­port­edly have sched­uled a meet­ing for Satur­day morn­ing.

... Jazz for­ward Gor­don Hay­ward de­clined his op­tion and will test free agency. Hay­ward re­port­edly has a meet­ing with the Heat on Satur­day morn­inhg.

... A di­ver­sity re­port shows the NBA “sig­nif­i­cantly ahead” in pro­fes­sional sports in racial and gen­der hir­ing prac­tices.

The league re­ceived an A for racial hir­ing and a B for gen­der hir­ing prac­tices for the 2016-17 sea­son.

The NBA drew grade of A-mi­nus.

The re­port card was re­leased by The In­sti­tute for Di­ver­sity and Ethics in Sport.

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over­all

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

For­mer Thun­der star Kevin Du­rant went to the War­riors to win an NBA ti­tle, and he did just that.

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