Kevin Durant reportedly informed the Golden State Warriors on Thursday he will decline his $27.7 million player option for the 2017-18 season, meaning he will officially be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to the Associated Press’ Janie McCauley.
ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes first reported Durant intended to opt out.
Although Durant made the move to decline the option, it’s merely a formality since he’s said for months that he plans to re-sign with the Warriors once free agency opens.
“I haven’t even thought about it that much, but I don’t plan on going anywhere else,” he said in April on the Warriors Plus/Minus podcast with Marcus Thompson and Tim Kawakami.
“Obviously you want to keep this group together, you want to see how far we can go. I’m sure once the season is over with we can figure out that stuff, everybody, and I’m sure it will all work out for the best.”
Specifically, Haynes reported Durant intends to re-up with the Warriors for less than the 10-year veteran max contract he’s eligible for so the Warriors have additional salary cap flexibility to try and retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
On Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein added Durant “plans to wait until after the team completes the bulk of its summer business” before he re-ups with the defending champions.
During his first season in the Bay Area, Durant averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Durant and DeMarcus Cousins were the only players to top 25 points, eight boards and a swat per game last season.
That success carried over to the postseason as well.
In 17 playoff appearances, Durant averaged 28.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 blocks on 55.6 percent shooting from the field and 44.2 percent from three—numbers that were bolstered by his exceptional play in the NBA Finals.
Over the course of five games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Durant romped his way to Finals MVP honors by averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks while shooting 55.6 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from three and 92.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Now weeks removed from the Warriors’ Finals victory, Durant will enter free agency set on hammering out the terms of a new deal with the Warriors as they keep their sights set on the Larry O’Brien Trophy for years to come.
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