Per usual, it’s been a frenzied free agency period in the NBA. While y’all have been on boats and at barbecues celebrating our nation’s birthday, NBA teams have been wooing some of the league’s biggest stars, signing them to deals so large they would make kings blush.
In other words, NBA players have been getting even richer.
One of these players is Kevin Durant, who has agreed a two-year, $53 million contract to remain with the Golden State Warriors. That may sound like a lot of money, but in reality, it could have been even more.
Before we get into that, let’s put some context around the deal. It’s really a one-year deal, with a player option for the second year. Durant will probably opt out of the second year of the deal next summer and sign a new one.
As the contract is constructed, Durant will make $25 million next season. According to the San Jose Mercury News, he’s eligible to sign a new max deal at $34.65 million per year. Durant, therefore, is leaving almost $10 million on the table.
Twenty-five million dollars is an incomprehensible amount of money to most of us, but so is $10 million, really, and that is what Durant is forgoing to help the Warriors remain dominant.
Durant’s decision to accept less than his market value by about 29 percent affords his team the ability to sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston – two key cogs in the Golden State machine – to three-year deals for $48 million and for $24 million, respectively.
It also helps lower the “luxury-tax bill” the Warriors have to pay. In the NBA, you see, if a team spends over the salary cap, it has to pay the rest of the league a tax, a penalty that increases the more over the cap the team is.
Per SB Nation, Durant’s generosity will save Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber about $25 million in salary and luxury tax fees.
Still, the Warriors are on the hook for about $181.4 million in salary ($138.6 million) and luxury taxes ($42.8) next season.
But, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Larry Brown Sports) it’s only going to get more expensive. If Golden State wants to keep Steph Curry (who just signed a five-year, $201 million deal!), Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, they’ll be on the hook for $1.2 billion in total over that span, with a luxury tax of $222.7 million for the 2020-2021 season.
Imagine having to write a lump sum check to the NBA of $200 million FOR LUXURY TAX pic.twitter.com/wbTeqJJ70k
— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) July 3, 2017
Let’s not feel too bad to the Warriors ownership. Their team is bound to win championship after championship, they’re set to build a bad-ass new arena in San Francisco that will keep dollars flowing into their coffers for decades, and if they thought these deals would put them in the red, they probably wouldn’t be doing them.