» WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR DURANT?
Will Kevin Durant re-sign with the Golden State Warriors or will he join the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets or some other NBA team?
He could do both.
There’s a new wrinkle in the seasonlong question surrounding Durant’s impending free agency, thanks to an ESPN report suggesting the Warriors could do a “delayed” sign-and-trade with their star forward.
Brian Windhorst, appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up” Thursday morning, said the Warriors have talked with Durant about the possibility of signing him to a super max contract and eventually trading him before his likely return to the court in the 2020-21 season.
“One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he could get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded. Potentially to New York, potentially to somewhere else,” Windhorst said. “It would be their way to sort of take care of him monetarily after what he just went through and also protect the franchise and get some assets.”
The Warriors can (and will) offer Durant a five-year, $221 million super max contract, but the most he could get in a free-agent deal from another team is a four-year deal worth roughly $164 million.
Golden State’s offer to do a sign-andtrade so that Durant can earn an extra $57 million would be a good faith gesture on its part, but, altruism aside, it would also assure the Warriors of getting something for their departing star. In that scenario, though, Durant would have to remain property of the Warriors for one year before being eligible for a trade, as per the CBA.
“For lack of a better term, it would be a delayed sign and trade,” Windhorst said. “It’s the only way Durant could get five years and play elsewhere . ... The Warriors go into this as a bit of a lastditch effort to not lose Kevin Durant for nothing. And what he would get out of it would be an extra $57 million come off of a devastating injury. He would be protected and get all of his money. Now, he’d have to trust the Warriors that they would actually work with you on a trade, but it’s something that has at least been discussed.”
Another benefit for the Warriors to a sign-and-eventually-trade deal is they could apply to the NBA for a Disabled Player Exception, potentially allowing them to use $9.2 million toward signing a free agent or making another trade. Using the DPE would have severe luxury tax implications, though. Golden State’s total tax penalty for using the DPE could be $70 million.
Durant underwent surgery for his ruptured right Achilles tendon he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last week. The injury occurred as he was returning after missing the Warriors’ previous nine postseason games with a strained right calf.
The 30-year-old Durant has until June 29 to exercise $31.5 million player option for the 2019-20 season, which he’s not expected to do. He’d then become an unrestricted free agent on June 30.
From there, it’s anyone’s guess as to what he’ll decide to do.