Kevin Durant Free Agency Talks Begin; Where Will He Decide to Play?
On July 1st, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s star, Kevin Durant, will become an unrestricted free agent.
What’s become the end of a long road for the Thunders this year, losing a 3-1 series lead to the Warriors, has become a new beginning for the NBA star.
Oklahoma got off on a good start in the playoffs, taking down Dallas in the first round. Durant led the Thunder with an impressive performance against the Spurs, shouldering one of the league’s top defenders, Kawhi Leonard. Then things took a wild turn in the Western Conference as the Warriors stormed for the win and the Thunder were no more.
With just a month until the NBA free agency opens, Durant has become a hot topic and speculation regarding his decision to leave the Thunders have been circulating. Especially given his response regarding the topic after Game 7:
“I mean, we just lost like 30 minutes ago, so I haven’t even thought about it. I’m just embracing my teammates and just reflecting on the season,” Durant said. “I’ll think about that stuff, I don’t know when. But we just lost an hour ago, 30 minutes ago, so I don’t know.”
Durant, now 27, has come a long way in his career as one of the most unique and irrepressible players and this will be the first time in his career as a free agent.
A Career to be Proud Of, So Far
Durant has earned many accomplishments throughout his career. He was the youngest-ever scoring champion in 2009, after averaging 30.1 points, and the youngest player to post a 40-50-90 shooting season. The 6-foot-10 small forward has made seven All-Star teams, leading the league in scoring four times.
The former MVP award winner led the Thunder to 55 wins alongside star teammate Russell Westbrook, playing 72 of 82 games and averaging 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5 assists per game in the 2015-16 season.
With the league’s newest national television broadcast deal, the NBA’s salary cap is expected to rise from $70 to as high as $100 million by 2017-18, resulting in larger salary cap offers in contracts.
As for Durant, The Thunder hold his Bird rights and could offer him a one-year contract and higher pay than any other team — or he could decide to leave. Definitely not for pay, as he will be eligible for a projected $25.9 million and from what he already banks on endorsements, a cap salary would barely determine where he’ll stand.
If he was to take up such an offer from the Thunder, being back on the free market after his one-year deal ends would allow him to earn a starting salary cap of $35 million or more.
(Kevin Durant Free Agency)