That statement didn’t seem to be tampering by even the loosest definition, but it will be interesting to see how the league reacts to Johnson having the following exchange: “Last year at the same time, World Series, you guys had me on and we were talking about who I might bring to the Lakers… And you guys got me LeBron! (laughs)” *a picture of Ortiz with Kevin Durant and LeBron both wearing Lakers jerseys* “Hey, hey, I love that (more laughter)!”
Although Johnson did follow it up with this: “I’ve already been fined enough.” We’ll see if the NBA agrees, although the following defenses would seem to work in Johnson’s favor: He never said anyone’s name, so maybe he’s just a fake jersey photoshop image enthusiast! He may have just been admiring the graphic design work.
That night’s 2018 parallel came on Friday in New York City. Three years later, the Knicks play the role of desperate Eastern Conference franchise dreaming of Durant in their jersey. The Warriors are now the incumbent protector, but do so in a very different, more relaxed way than the Thunder. Back then, the OKC brass fist-pumped the schedule makers. They were elated to get the D.C. trip out of the way early. Durant’s impending free agency loomed over the franchise like a storm cloud. Certain hot spot cities made it feel like a hurricane. That’s not the feeling around these Warriors. When chatting with some of the franchise’s luminaries on Friday night in Madison Square Garden, no one sounded eager for the New York City weekend to end. There was even a slight bit of disappointment that one of their favorite trips on the calendar would be scratched off before the season was two weeks old.
That’s a constant theme around these Warriors: Humor to defuse tension. Durant’s free agency future is a serious threat to this dynasty. Everyone is curious to see what he’ll do. It’ll affect the life path of many of his teammates. They monitor the breadcrumbs as closely as anyone. Around the Thunder, it was a taboo topic — always there but hardly touched. Around these Warriors, it freely pops up at any moment, occasionally weaponized into a joke, like when Durant got to the Garden on Friday night and Andre Iguodala had a message for him. “Welcome home,” Iguodala joked.
The other difference: The Warriors in zero way fear the Knicks in these sweepstakes. Durant may decide to go to New York in July. They know that. The buzz is legitimate. The connections are there. His business manager, Rich Kleiman, is a New York-based Knicks fan with dreams of working in their front office one day. Royal Ivey, perhaps Durant’s best friend, is on David Fizdale’s coaching staff. But in all aspects of basketball success and organizational management, the areas in which the Warriors can control, they are superior.
There’s reason to believe KD will have the Knicks on his radar — as opposed to 2015. Rich Kleiman, born and bred in Manhattan, growing up a diehard Knicks fan, was at the Garden for Friday’s matchup. Kleiman is Durant’s manager/agent. Knicks president Steve Mills and Kleiman go way back. At least the Knicks will be kept in the loop if there’s even a chance.
But he isn’t bothering to confirm or deny. He has no interest in leaning anybody one way or another. Liberated Durant is blunt. “I’m not thinking about none of that shit,” Durant said after Wednesday’s night victory over Washington. “I’m really locked in with the team.” “He lying,” Andre Iguodala blurted from the neighboring locker, interrupting Durant’s explanation. Laughs ensued.
“I am thinking about the money I’m going to get,” Durant said. “I never got the (massive) deal. I’ve just seen a bunch of dudes around the league making so much money — and I’m happy for them. But I know I deserve that, too. That’s the only thing I’m probably thinking about, to be honest.”
Durant was tepid in his reaction to the billboard when asked about it Thursday. "It's the time the NBA is in," he said. "We look forward to free agency as fans, and your guys' job is to kind of look towards the future a little bit. And the fans love it. So I understand. "To be honest, I don't know how I feel about that type of stuff. It's cool. No disrespect, but I'm not really impressed with that type of stuff. I just really like playing basketball. ... I know all of that stuff is a part of it, but for me I don't really get up for that stuff."
Knicks Coach David Fizdale insisted he hasn’t paid attention to Durant’s contract status. “Not even a little bit. Nope. I don’t even like saying it when it’s not about anything, because he’s a killer,” Fizdale said. “I was watching film on him the other day, and the guy’s just so efficient. He’s a special player. But no, I can’t talk about that other stuff.”
Free agency may be more than eight months away, but the public courting of Kevin Durant has already started. With Durant and the Golden State Warriors in New York to play the New York Knicks on Friday, a marketing company has put up a billboard near Madison Square Garden recruiting Durant to New York. The billboard features Durant in a road Knicks jersey next to Kristaps Porzingis with the question, "Can you make NY sports great again?" posted to Durant's Instagram handle, @easymoneysniper.
Durant is holding the Larry O'Brien Trophy, something the Knicks last won in 1973. The billboard also features the hashtag #KDNY2019. "My business partner and I are lifelong Knick fans, and we are tired of all the losing, so we decided to do our part to in helping our team recruit the best players the NBA has to offer, because that's what New York sports deserves," said Benjamin Pokh, president of the marketing company. The Knicks expect to have enough cap space this summer to pay a max free agent such as Durant. They are one of many clubs who will have strong interest in the former MVP if he opts out of the final year of his contract and tests free agency, as expected.
“I think it’s simple for KD. I think he just tells people one time and one time only. He’ll deal with that when the time comes,” George told Yahoo Sports. “In his mind right now, they’re focusing on a three-peat, they’re focusing on defending that title. That’s the only thing the media needs to worry about. Regardless of if he stays or if he goes, he gave them three great years. That’s what the Bay has to be proud of.” The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will take a run at the back-to-back Finals MVP, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Personnel from the Clippers are expected to attend a high number of Warriors games this season, sources said. Rival executives are of the belief that Durant, unlike the previous two summers he hit free agency with the Warriors, might be swayed to leave the Bay Area this time around.
The 2018-19 NBA season could very well be Kevin Durant’s final year with the Golden State Warriors. But while he’s still under contract, the defending champs are well within their right to kick off their recruitment of Durant early. “I don’t need [to be recruited], I don’t need to feel appreciated,” Durant told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday after a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on opening night. “I don’t need anything extra [from the Warriors]. I’m just here to hoop and win games. I already know what this organization is about.”
Zach Lowe: He's not going back to Oklahoma City. I'd be dumbfounded if he joined LeBron. He must know the Warriors will always be Curry's team. The social media slights will never stop as long as Durant is there. People who know Durant say part of him must crave the challenge of being the undisputed alpha dog and lead ball handler -- of putting up a 32-10-8 stat line. Some of those same people wonder if he is a little scared of that challenge. A normal human would feel both of those things. But whoever revives the Knicks will become legend. They have a young co-star in Kristaps Porzingis who could take on more of the scoring burden as Durant ages.
Tim Bontemps: If today was July 1, I think Durant would leave. I think it's most likely he signs with the Knicks, and if not the Knicks I could see he and Kawhi Leonard teaming up with the Clippers. I would be surprised if he was with anyone but the Knicks, Clippers or Warriors next season, though. And I also won't be surprised if he changes his mind plenty of times between now and when he makes that decision.
Lacob’s reasoning: Look at the Warriors’ banners. They have three of them in the past four years. Look at the trophies. Durant has collected two consecutive NBA titles and Finals MVPS since joining the Dubs in 2016. Look at the business opportunities. Durant can re-sign with the Warriors next season to a five-year deal worth $219 million, along with maintain and expanding his business portfolio in Silicon Valley. “It’s not even on my mind,” Lacob said. “There’s no more uncertainty this year than there was last. He’s been on a one-year deal each year. So I don’t really understand what all the hullabaloo is about.”
“He loves being a part of our organization and being a part of the Bay Area,” Lacob said of Durant. “He’s earned the right to be a free agent or do whatever he wants in terms of contract status. I would let it play out and see what happens. I’m not too worried about it.”
Anthony Slater: Reporter: "Given the economics of the game, is there any thought that this is the last go around with this core group?" Steve Kerr: "No" .....long pause..... "Can't make it any clearer than that"
As the Warriors enter the 2018-19 season, Kevin Durant’s pending free agency next season serves as the most vivid example. Will he re-sign with the Warriors as he has done every summer for the past two years? Or will he decide he is better off pursuing NBA championships, scoring records and business deals elsewhere? “For some reason, everyone thinks this year is different than last,” Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob told Bay Area News Group. “I don’t see that.”
The source of the hullabaloo stems from Durant’s obvious star power and uncertainty on what variables he will measure with his next contract. Will he value the Warriors’ championship equity, team-oriented culture and monetary advantage? Or does Durant want to prove he can win elsewhere without the Warriors’ three other All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green? “He loves being a part of our organization and being a part of the Bay Area,” Lacob said of Durant. “He’s earned the right to be a free agent or do whatever he wants in terms of contract status. I would let it play out and see what happens. I’m not too worried about it.”
The other 29 teams are thus bound to draw hope from the recent widespread rumbles that Durant will seriously consider signing with the Knicks next summer. Yet my own sense, after some temperature-taking in Vegas, is that more people within the organization than not believe Durant ultimately wants to enjoy at least one season in Golden State’s new San Francisco palace after spending so much off-court time in his first two seasons immersing himself in the Silicon Valley culture.
The Warriors have to brace for the worst, of course, but I don’t sense much Durant apprehension yet. There is even less tangible concern about Thompson, despite the Lakers’ anticipated interest, given how often Klay has publicly said he hopes to spend his whole career as a Warrior. Another factor that should help the Warriors in their quest to hang onto Durant through at least 2020: Irving’s recent proclamation that he intends to stay with the Celtics, as opposed to bolting for the Knicks, would seemingly prevent New York from signing the sidekick most likely to tempt Durant to switch coasts.
The Athletic‘s Marcus Thompson, who covers the Warriors, was a guest on KNBR Tuesday morning, and he said the vibe he is getting is that this season is Durant’s last run in Golden State. “Man, KD out,” Thompson told Murph and Mac. “I feel like he is gone. It does have that vibe, like, ‘This is it. This could be it right here.’ Here’s the hard part with KD: We don’t know what he wants. I don’t know that he knows what he wants. But I know the Warriors don’t know fully what he wants. Is it a championship, supremacy, is it to be the ace? “It feels like he has gotten everything he could possibly get from the Warriors, and it’s still not 100 percent like he wants to be here. If it was like a relationship, like, ‘Look, man. I gave you all I got. You still looking — you might as well just go.’ That’s how it feels.”
OK, this is close to being a reported part. I’ve talked to people in the franchise about this. Not for this piece but just through various conversations. Some I’ve sought out, some have sought out me. All of them have the same kind of undercurrent: we hope he stays, but wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves.
Nobody knows what Durant is going to do. As I said on the radio, I’d bet Durant doesn’t even know what he is going to do. But the people who are around him the most are chewing on that possibility. Again, this is not necessarily me polling Warriors people. Just conversations, with people on all levels. Because they talk about this just like we talk about this.
In June, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that James had texted Durant about the two joining forces. On Tuesday, Durant stated in no uncertain terms that the report was not accurate. “He** no. … That was all false. All false. 100 percent false,” Durant said, per Mark Medina of The Mercury News. “He didn’t talk about none of that stuff.”
The general feeling among Durant’s current teammates, coaches and front office staff is “he’s as happy as I’ve ever seen him” and “he’s in a great situation. He knows that.”
Monte Poole: Halftime sight: @Warriors CEO Joe Lacob walking away from the floor with his arm around the shoulder of Rich Kleiman, who represents the business interests of one Kevin Durant.
Enter the New York Knicks, who have been an Eastern Conference doormat for almost two decades running. After years of sacrificing future draft picks for aging superstars, their new front office has kept their picks, hired a coach in David Fizdale whom players love and are committed to the long haul. And it’s for those reasons above, according to Yahoo!’s Chris Haynes during an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed, that the Knicks have a chance at luring Kevin Durant away from the two-time defending champion Warriors.
Kevin Durant knows the questions are coming. He knows that wherever he and the Golden State Warriors go this season he'll be asked about his impending free agency next summer -- but he is confident he'll be able to handle whatever comes his way, given his experiences the last time he went through the process with the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Just be honest," Durant told ESPN. "I was honest with my decision, but just like outwardly if people ask me about it, don't be ashamed to talk about why I decided to move teams and switch teams because it's not the end of the world. I didn't do anything against the law, you know what I'm saying? That's what I thought happened the first time."
"I dealt with it before," Durant said. "I just try to be as honest as I can. I'm not going to tell people what I'm thinking. I'm not going to tell you -- some days I think about my free agency, some days I don't. Some days I think about what my future looks like, some days I don't. I'm just human. That's just natural for me. But I can't sit down and talk to people about it because I want to keep playing, I want to focus on the season. So I know the questions are going to come. I know a lot of people are going to speculate and print rumors and sources, but nobody's heard from me about anything, so it's just all speculation at this point."
Entering his 12th season in the league, Durant is more confident than ever in both his place within the game and the voice he has beyond the floor. He knows the speculation will continue, but he's confident in himself that he'll make the right decision when the time comes again. In the short-term, he is enjoying the process of trying to prolong the Warriors dynasty. "I'm here," Durant said. "I'm 100 percent committed to this team this year and going as hard as I can every single day to be the best player that I can be to help this team win. It's going to be a lot of speculation on where I should go play ball, but at the end of the day it's just me playing ball. It doesn't really matter. I'm just playing ball, you know what I mean? I'm not making a huge, huge decision that's going to affect anyone else, but just myself so I don't even know why everybody cares that much."
“It was one of those things where you’re just confident in your skills, and you kind of just want to take it year by year,” Durant said at Warriors Media Day on Monday. “And I think to keep my options open, it was the best thing for me. “I could have easily signed a long-term deal … but I just wanted to take it a season by season and see where it takes me. And I think this whole year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all, and I’m looking forward to just focusing on that, and we’ll see what happens after the year.”
There is some assumption that this is the best place for him, that he has thrived in the Bay Area, with his tech investments and all the winning, and that Durant’s ultimate decision probably will be to stay with the Warriors, who also can pay him the most. So why would he bolt? “I don’t think about it like that,” Green said when I asked if he’s wondering if Durant might leave after this season. “Also, I know I studied the business side of the league. I don’t just go play and say maybe my agent will figure it out or anything like that, like I studied the business side. “I could be reading it wrong. And if I am, I am. But me knowing the business side of things, I understand what he did. And we’ll see where it all ends up. But like I said we’re not going to enter this season saying K signed a one-year deal, what’s next?
One of those guys that’s coming up as a free agent was a free agent this summer. Signed a one-year deal, Kevin Durant. He could have signed longer. I think I predicted he’d sign a two-year deal to get a larger number. Any concern that he only signed a one-year deal and now he’s going to hit free agency? And he might hit it pretty hard next summer. Joe Lacob: That’s a two-edged sword, right? Sure, I think we would have liked to have had him be here longer, sign a long-term deal. On the other hand, we’re happy to have him. By him signing a one-year deal, it save us a little bit of money, actually, right? So, it allows us to do some other things. Like, maybe we wouldn’t have DeMarcus Cousins, right? As an example. KD’s been great. He’s my hero, man. He’s been a really good partner for us. He’s taken a little, as you know, a little bit of a discount over the last few years that has allowed to do a few extra things. I’m never going to forget that.
The Golden State Warriors star has an option in his contract that enables him to become a free agent next summer. Durant, 29, has been linked with moves to the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks heading into the season. The small forward has won consecutive NBA championships with the Warriors and it remains to be seen whether Durant wants a chance of scenery. And five-time NBA All-Star Billups has urged Durant to leave Golden State and win a championship elsewhere.
When asked whether Durant should opt to become a free agent next year, Billups told the Daily Star: “I hope he does actually, I hope he does. I really do. “I hope that he may have another Championship, then he can hop to be a free agent and maybe go somewhere else and help them win a Championship.”
What do you think percentage of Durant going to Knicks? He still seems to care so much about public opinion and have insecurities and this would be change to try and escape all the negative banter. Between him having chance to have his own team, Madison Square Garden, and Rich Klienman’s Knicks connections, I feel like this is similar to Lebron to LA. Ethan Strauss: @Trevor B. No clue of the percentage, but it's a distinct possibility.
Chris Mannix: "I think next summer, we are going to see a Kevin Durant free-agency tour. I think we'll see teams recruit him, maybe not the exact same way they did a few years ago, but in that kind of way. And if you start looking at potential teams, I know people like to connect Kevin Durant to Los Angeles, but I'm of the belief that if he gets his third championship, he's not going to want to play alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant's gonna wanna be the player who eclipses LeBron James. You don't wanna go and play with somebody and help him win championships if you're on Durant level. You wanna be...the guy. I think that's gonna keep him out of L.A."
Jeff Goodman: "What about [his hometown] Washington Wizards [as a Kevin Durant free-agent landing spot]?" Chris Mannix: "He's not gonna go to Washington. He doesn't wanna play at home. That's been a long-standing thing with him. ... There would have to be a radical change [for Durant to consider it]."
Chris Mannix: "The relationship between Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City was never really torched. Oklahoma City always said the right things about him, and they always did right by him publicly. And the relationship between Durant and Russell Westbrook, while not being great by any stretch, is probably as good as it's been since he left Oklahoma City. So all those things are gonna factor in and make me think Oklahoma City will at least be on his list of possibilities [in free agency] next summer."
Knicks fans dreaming of a Durant signing next summer are hereby forewarned: It’s not inconceivable that he may actually choose to make Madison Square Garden home someday, but it’s extremely difficult to imagine the Silicon Valley-loving Durant doing so without playing at least one season in the Warriors’ new Chase Center palace in San Francisco, which doesn’t open until the 2019-20 campaign.
That’s what Yahoo Sports’ NBA insider Chris Mannix seems to think anyways. The belief from Mannix, who joined ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd on Friday, is that Durant could be very much open to returning to the Thunder in order to help them to win an NBA championship. “I don’t think he finishes in Golden State. Look, after next season, he’s going to have $80 million in his pocket from the last three years and probably three championships,” Mannix said. “So at 30 years old, Kevin Durant is basically going to have a blank canvas. He can do whatever he wants knowing that his legacy is secure. There will be a lot of teams out there trying to recruit him. I think Kevin Durant wants to hear those recruitments. I think Kevin Durant will be open-minded next summer when it comes to where he wants to go. “But I keep going back to Oklahoma City. I keep going back to the fact that everything we know about Kevin Durant, the sensitivities, how much he hates the fact that people say he jumped on Steph Curry’s bandwagon, and the fact that there’s been no bridge burnt with Oklahoma City. The relationship with Russell Westbrook seems to be the best it’s been since he left Oklahoma City. I know that there’s some financial gymnastics you have to do to get a Kevin Durant on the roster, but I really believe come the end of the year, he’s going to take a long look at Oklahoma City.”
But that doesn’t appear to be in his plans. The past two seasons, Durant played under the same type of short-term deal, but regularly reaffirmed, both publicly and privately, his plan to re-up with the Warriors right when July arrived. This time around, he’s playing it more coy. I pressed him a bit on the 1-and-1 contract decision while in Vegas. He was very chatty about other subjects. He was short and purposely vague on this one. “Just felt like that was the right thing to do for me,” he said.
Asked about the trend of one-year contracts, especially for the top-tier stars, Durant said: “Because we know our power, know our control, want to do what’s best for us, more so than anything.” Despite a similar contract status during his first two seasons with the Warriors, does next year feel more like it’ll be more of an unknown, maybe like his final year in Oklahoma City, where the story chased him from city to city on the road? “I’m going to approach it like I always do,” Durant said. “Get ready for camp, take it a day at a time.”
Harrison Wind: Potential 2019 free agent Kevin Durant on C.J. McCollum’s @PullUpPod podcast: "I like Denver a lot, it’s super chill. Denver’s a fun city.” Here’s the full exchange -
Anadolu Efes is going all in for a big move for next season and has offered a $2.2M, one-year deal to Malcolm Delaney, according to Eurohoops sources. Delaney, 29, who spent the previous two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, also expects a big offer from China while he is still exploring his NBA options.
I have no idea. I do know that Rich Kleiman, Durant's business manager, is from New York. Scott Perry, New York's GM, was an executive with the Seattle SuperSonics when they drafted Durant and remains close with him. New York will obviously have company pitching Durant, if he hears pitches. (Golden State's new arena doesn't open until the 2019-20 season; who could blame Durant for wanting to play in it?) Those suitors will bring track records of basic competency the Dolan-era Knicks have rarely achieved. But New York will try. Next summer is going to be a whirlwind. Rest up.
Mark Medina: The Warriors officially re-sign Kevin Durant. Warriors have 12 players under contract & will be at 13 when Jonas Jerebko signs. They'll be at 14 presuming Patrick McCaw returns. Warriors likely to keep last roster spot open to save $$ and keep flexibility for next season.
Zach Lowe: "Kevin Durant is gonna be the single biggest story in the NBA for the next year now that [LeBron James has made his move to the Lakers]. And if you don't think that all of these teams - like if you think the Knicks noise is bogus, it's not. I'm not saying [Durant is going the Knicks], I'm saying they're planning their [next] offseason around him. 100 percent."
Durant’s deal with Golden State was interesting, if only because it puts him on the free-agent market again next summer, when everyone will have cap space and opportunities to team up with other top-tier players will abound. The decision sparked immediate chatter that Durant, forever sensitive to the (false) narrative that he simply hopped on Stephen Curry’s bandwagon, will pocket his third ring next season and look elsewhere.
Marcus Thompson: Durant has saved the Warriors a total of $15.6 million in space the last two years (before taxes)
Shams Charania: Kevin Durant has committed to a two-year, $61.5M deal to return to the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell Yahoo.
Bobby Marks: The Kevin Durant contract is for $30M and $31.5M with a player option in year 2. The $5M Durant savings this year now offsets the $5.3M tax midlevel if Golden State elects to use it. Durant would save the Warriors $20M in projected luxury tax costs.
Marc Stein: Kevin Durant plans to tell the Warriors after 12:01 a.m. ET that he wants a new one-year contract with a player option for 2019-20 to return to free agency next summer, @NYTSports has learned
Marc Stein: Durant is expected to be one of the first deals struck when the NBA's free-agent marketplace opens Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Warriors GM Bob Myers has said repeatedly since Golden State's second consecutive title that Durant will get "whatever he wants" contract-wise
Marc Stein: The new deal would pay Durant $30.5 million next season and allow the two-time reigning Finals MVP to return to free agency in July 2019 -- three months before Golden State moves into the new Chase Center in San Francisco
Chris Haynes: Kevin Durant intends to sign a two-year max deal with a player option to stay with Golden State, league sources tell ESPN.
Something of note 12 hours before free agency: If KD takes another 1+1 deal (rumblings are it's heading that way), it would save the Warriors a ton in tax money. Salary next year would be $30mil instead of max of around $35.4mil. That would increase likelihood Warriors use MLE.
Marc Stein: Just to clarify on Kevin Durant: Friday's deadline compels Durant to opt IN on his $26.3 million for next season if he chooses, but league sources say he has already informed the Warriors that he will let the deadline pass quietly so he can become a free agent July 1
Durant has said repeatedly that he intends to stay with Golden State after the market opens July 1, with sources close to the process saying that an agreement on a new deal with the Warriors is expected in the early stages of free agency
During the interview session with team play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald, he stepped in front of Durant to handle his M.C. duties and said, “I’m gonna stand in front of KD; Before his Warrior exit, I want to enjoy as much time with him as possible.” Curry, who signed a five-year, $205 million deal last summer, could be seen shaking his head. Then when Fitzgerald kidded with Myers, who had told Durant he could have any contract he so desires, Myers said with a smile, “Yeah, that was just for the media. He can’t have anything like that at all…” Warriors coach Steve Kerr deadpanned: “Midlevel…”
Fitzgerald kept going. “Last year, you told Steph he could have any contract he wants, too, so…” he shot back. To which Myers said, “Yeah, that was different. He’s been here from the way before days. He’s earned it.” Fitzgerald, with the final shot: “And there ended the Warriors’ cohesion right there…” he said as the crowd reacted to all this awkwardness.
Kristian Winfield: Warriors owner Joe Lacob during parade on winning more championships: "I just spoke to Kevin Durant and he said we're gonna keep doing it." There goes that.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers expects swift negotiations to re-sign two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr. Durant could sign for as long as four years and about $160 million, and Myers is prepared to give him “whatever he wants.” Durant has said all along he wants to stay put, especially after winning a pair of championships in his first two seasons with Golden State.
Kevin Durant, the back-to-back NBA Finals MVP, told ESPN on Friday that he could see himself walking away from the game at 35 years of age, five seasons from now. "This game, your craft, you have to continue studying it," said Durant. "No matter how much you enjoy it, nobody wants to be in school that long. I know I don't. At some point, you have to be ready to graduate. Thirty-five, that's just a number in my mind." Durant, who turns 30 in September, could ink a four-year deal in July.
Rich Kleiman, Durant's business partner, said Durant had previously shared with him that he might walk away at 35. "I heard him say that, but I'll believe it when it happens," Kleiman said.
Melissa Rohlin: Bob Myers on KD saying he’s coming back: “Maybe I’m naïve but I never felt like he was leaving.”
Yeah, the next thing. You have Klay and Draymond down the road, and KD this summer. But do you feel like the argument -- the fact -- that this group has gone to four straight Finals is kind of a trump card over any possible object that anyone might have? Bob Myers: Winning is the only time you don’t have to answer questions. It’s the only time. Twenty-nine other GMs, you have to answer, ‘what if?’ ‘why didn’t you?’ Every coach, every player. You only get to have this emotion once, and it means you have to win. It doesn’t mean, though, that you have a perfect team or that you have a perfect life by any stretch. But for me, it means that you appreciate these guys, you try to keep it together, you thank the people -- for me, my family, my wife, the people that went on the journey with you. The sacrifice, the things that nobody knows about. That’s the part you try to keep your eye on. And as far as the group, you value the guys that helped you do it, the players, the coaching staff, people I work with in the front office. I don’t know. I think you treasure each moment with these people. Like I said, I mean, you’ve worked with a ton of people. They change. People come and go, for whatever reason -- some good, some bad. It doesn’t matter. It’s life.
For the Warriors, that is going to start being a very expensive proposition as Durant, Thompson and Green are all in line for massive new contracts in the next few years. Lacob said Friday night that he intends to offer extensions or new deals to all of them this summer.
What’s your understanding about Durant’s thoughts heading into free agency this summer again? Lacob: My understanding is he’s extremely happy, from both Kevin and his manager. So we have full expectation that he’ll be back. Of course, you know how I feel about this for all these players — they’ve earned the right to be free agents and we can’t assume anything. It’s our job to convince them to want to be with us.
All-Star forward Kevin Durant told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on Thursday that he will re-sign with the Golden State Warriors this summer. Durant is finishing the first year of a discounted two-year, $51 million deal with the Warriors that included an opt-out clause for the 2018-19 season. "I'm planning on staying with the Warriors, and we'll figure the rest out," Durant said, before adding that only the "small details" remained to be figured out.
One of Durant's options in the offseason would be to sign a four-year, max contract valued at around $158 million. He could also sign another two-year deal with a player option, or a three-year-deal with a player option after the second year. He and business partner Rich Kleiman are expected to go over the scenarios in great detail at the conclusion of the Warriors' postseason run.
“Yeah, yeah,” Durant said when asked if he would be back for next season. “I feel as though (I am). Everything, the money and stuff that’s got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn’t plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I’ve been a part of this league for so long now.”
Tim Kawakami noted he wouldn’t have thought Durant would take such a big pay cut last year. Durant: Me either. But I thought that, at that time, it was a good deal. But that’s not setting a good precedent for me if I’m like, “Man, I’m taking 10.” Now, they’re going to start taking advantage of me. You know what I’m saying? I know it’s a business, too. So, I’ve got a business to handle as well.
Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant plans to decline his player option for the 2018-19 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN. His time on the open market, however, will be brief.
A nine-time All-Star and the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Durant will be turning down a salary of $26.2 million, a figure well below that of a player of his caliber, in order to restructure a new deal with the Warriors, sources said. Last offseason, Durant inked a discounted two-year, $51 million deal that included an opt-out clause. He took close to $10 million less than what he could have earned on a max salary. Agreeing to such terms allowed the team to retain forward Andre Iguodala and backup point guard Shaun Livingston.
ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks dissected Durant's options for this upcoming offseason. Option A: He can sign a two-year deal with a 2019-20 player option in which the first-year earnings would be $30 million and the option year worth $31.5 million.
Option B: He can sign a four-year max contract valued at around $158 million. His annual pay would be $35.3 million, $38.2 million, $41 million and $43.8 million. Option C: He can agree to a three-year deal with a player option after the second season.
But another Warriors name, a bigger, more influential star, is actually next up on the docket, yet he is always omitted from these discussions: Kevin Durant, who signed a two-year deal with the Warriors in 2017 with an opt-out this summer, is free to sign wherever he wants in four months. But no one across the league seems to even pretend like it's a possibility that he will leave Oakland. So it seemed wise, following the Warriors' shootaround in Atlanta on Friday, to approach Durant and check his pulse on the situation. The following is his conversation with The Athletic on this issue.
“Oh, you want to start this up?” Durant said with an eye-roll. Is this as foregone a conclusion as the rest of the league seems to believe it to be? “I'm not even thinking about that,” Durant said. “I'm here. I'm here. I ain't even thought about it.” To make it simpler: Is it 100 percent, in your mind, that you will be back with the Warriors next season? “Yeah,” Durant said. “Yeah.”
Ian Begley: Troy Williams on signing with NYK: "Great opportunity, great fit. Their interest level here was a little bit higher than everybody else’s." He's hoping for an opportunity to stick with NY: "Right now my main role is just being an extra athletic guy, run the court and defend.”
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The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have re-signed free agents Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not released. Curry, 29, averaged a team-high 25.3 points per game (10th in the NBA) in 2016-17 to go with 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.81 steals (seventh) in 33.4 minutes over 79 games, earning All-NBA Second Team honors. The two-time MVP led the league in three-point field goals for a fifth consecutive year, following his NBA-record 402 threes in 2015-16 with 316 triples in 2016-17, including an NBA single-game record 13 threes on Nov. 7 vs. New Orleans. Curry upped his averages to 28.1 points, 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds in 35.4 minutes over 17 games in the 2017 postseason, helping Golden State capture its second title in three seasons. In eight career seasons with the Warriors, Curry owns averages of 22.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.79 steals and is the franchise’s all-time leader in three-point field goals (1,917, 10th in NBA history).
September 23, 2021 | 5:30 pm EDT Update
The Athletic: The Pistons are planning to sign Cassius Stanley, sources tell @James Edwards III. Stanley, the No. 54 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, appeared in 24 games with the Pacers last season. pic.twitter.com/mtWl2mORWT
There were times when Tyler Herro felt overwhelmed last season. The Miami Heat guard would see his name linked to trades all over Twitter along with questions about his personal life and how he wasn’t taking basketball seriously. He also was preparing to become a father for the first time. Herro said it wasn’t fun. But those days, he believes, are over. His daughter is here, he said his head is clear and as Heat camp looms, the 21-year-old guard is planning for this to be his best season.
“For me, one of the biggest things was hearing people say that I partied too much, that I’m not in the gym, that I don’t love the gym,” Herro said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. “If you knew me, you’d know I try to be the hardest-working dude out here. So, I think you’ll see that this year.”
His daughter, Zya Elise Herro, was born Sept. 14. The middle name is an homage to the baby’s mother, Herro’s girlfriend Katya Elise Henry. Mother and baby are doing well, and Herro said he feels like a huge weight has been lifted heading into this season. “I just feel good,” Herro said. “I feel like I have a reason now. Not that I didn’t before, but now I have another reason to be motivated every single day when I walk into the arena. I have to be the best I can every single day because I have a daughter now. And I’m in a very good spot right now.”
What didn’t see improvement was his 3-point percentage, falling from 39% to 36%. And there was a 10-game stretch in March where he really struggled — shooting 32% from the field, 22% from 3-point range, averaging just 11.3 points. But more than anything else, he simply wasn’t happy. “Last year, it was all mental,” Herro said. “I didn’t enjoy coming into work every day.”
Duane Rankin: In showing leg kicks on shots, Monty McCutchen is showing Devin Booker taking a jumper in the lane kicking his leg out to solely draw contact from the defender. That’s considered a non-basketball move and will be viewed as an offensive foul now. #Suns