The idea that Kevin Durant will sign a two-year deal with a player option after the first season to align his free agency with that of Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, whose contract expires after next season, isn’t one that Durant has given much thought, as he said on ESPN Radio today, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link).
“Actually that’s probably one of the first times I’ve heard that one, but, no, I haven’t really thought about it, man,” Durant said. “I’m just, with [coming back from] injury and just getting back to playing again, I haven’t thought about contracts or free agency or none of that stuff at all. … I really haven’t thought about that one. I guess I have to.”
Durant would stand to benefit financially from the short-term deal, since becoming a free agent in 2017 would allow him to make a starting salary worth roughly 35% of the salary cap, instead of 30%. The cap is also projected to reach $108MM in 2017 and only $89MM this coming summer. Still, the uncertainty surrounding the next collective bargaining agreement, likely to take effect before 2017 free agency, might mean changes to the sort of contract Durant could sign, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). See more from the Northwest Division:
- Nuggets coach Michael Malone spoke earlier this week of finding a way for Joffrey Lauvergne to see more playing time, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post observes. The Nuggets reportedly want a late first-rounder in exchange for the center, but Dempsey believes Lauvergne is staying put.
- The four-year, $55MM extension that kicked in for Ricky Rubio this season is soon to become one of the most team-friendly deals in the league, thanks to the escalation of the salary cap and Rubio’s “electrifying” play, Marks opines. Timberwolves GM Milt Newton denies that he’s received any trade calls on Rubio lately but said he would be obliged to listen if a team did ask about him, as Newton said to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
- The Wolves allowed a pair of small trade exceptions, one worth $816,482 and the other $500K, to lapse Wednesday. They were vestiges of the team’s swap that sent Mo Williams and Troy Daniels to the Hornets last year.