Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Weighs In On Cavaliers’ Situation

It may seem like the Cavaliers have a unique problem on their hands with Kyrie Irving requesting a trade. However, Kevin Durant tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.com that trade requests routinely occur behind the scenes without the media learning of them.

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant said. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

Having a deal in place by the time training camp begins would avoid a potential distraction. However, if Irving isn’t moved by then, Durant believes Irving and LeBron James would eventually work out their differences.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Earlier in the week, Durant played pickup basketball with James and Carmelo Anthony among others. The 2013/14 MVP downplayed the event.

“If somebody wants to hoop, we just hoop. We just went out there and played, bro. Nothing too serious,” Durant said.

Durant Says He Will “Never” Sign With Knicks

Last offseason, Kevin Durant was a free agent and the Knicks hoped to get a meeting with the 2013/14 MVP. They didn’t get one and it appears they won’t in the future should he hit the market again, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News explains.

A fan asked Durant when he was going to play for New York’s team during a portion of the star’s promotional video, which was filmed in the Big Apple. Durant was direct in his answer, telling the New Yorker “never.”

It appears the Knicks are still recovering from years of reputational damage even after exiling Phil Jackson and ushering in a new regime. The franchise hasn’t had much luck attracting top talent to play for the team since it re-signed Carmelo Anthony to his current deal back in 2014.

In 2015, LaMarcus Aldridge scheduled a meeting with New York during the opening week of free agency only to cancel it later after Jackson told him that the organization wanted Aldridge to play “strictly” center. Dwyane Wade, who met with New York last summer before signing with the Bulls, represents the last free agent fresh off an All-Star appearance to sit down with the club.

Several stars, such as LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Paul George, can hit the free agent market next offseason and it’ll be interesting to see which, if any, of the league’s marquee players will schedule a meeting with the Knicks. It seems likely that Durant, who has the ability to hit the market for the third consecutive offseason should he opt out after the 2017/18 campaign, will not headline that list.

Warriors Notes: Durant, George, G League

After taking a pay cut this year to help the Warriors keep their roster intact, Kevin Durant cited Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki as other players who have been willing to accept less over the years in order to help their respective clubs build winning squads. Speaking to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Durant suggested that outside observers wanted the rising cost of the Warriors’ roster to break up the team, and he wanted to do his part to make sure that didn’t happen.

“They were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve,” Durant said of teammates Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, and Shaun Livingston. “So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.”

Slater’s Q&A with Durant, which is worth checking out in full, also included a discussion of some revamped Western Conference contenders, the recruitment of Nick Young, and an offseason trip to India.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • After suggesting recently on Tim Bontemps’ podcast that he expects the Warriors to pursue Paul George in free agency next summer, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic does a little damage control, writing that he has no inside information on Golden State’s interest in George. As Kawakami explains, the Warriors are simply the type of franchise that will go after virtually any top free agent that fits their style of play, and George’s two-way skill-set and expiring contract fit that bill for 2018. The odds of the Dubs actually landing George are probably slim, Kawkami notes.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State’s G League affiliate – have named former University of Kansas standout Aaron Miles as their new head coach, the club announced in a press release. “Aaron has stood out as a leader at every stop in his playing career and as a collegiate assistant coach,” GM Kent Lacob said in a statement. “We are confident that he will be a tremendous fit for our team and our organization as we look toward the 2017/18 season and beyond.”
  • For more news, notes, and rumors on the Warriors, be sure to check out their team page.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, with Carmelo Anthony making use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. At this point, Anthony is focused on joining the Rockets, and is reportedly unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to go to another team.

Anthony is one of just three NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents have signed their QOs so far this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

  • Carmelo Anthony (Knicks)
  • LeBron James (Cavaliers)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
    • Note: Nowitzki is believed to have received an explicit no-trade clause on his new deal with the Mavs, but would get an implicit NTC either way.

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

  • None

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Stephen Curry Asked Warriors About Taking Discount

The Warriors are bringing back just about all of their key free agents involved in last season’s championship run, and Kevin Durant‘s willingness to accept a discount on his new deal helped the team to make those moves. Stephen Curry, who received the largest contract of Golden State’s offseason, tells Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic that he also asked the Warriors about the possibility of taking a discount to accommodate other players.

“I actually asked [GM] Bob [Myers],” Curry said. “If I were to take a discount — at any number, I don’t know what it would be — how much of a difference would that make for us to be able to sign other guys. It wasn’t like [Durant’s] situation. His had a direct impact on us being able to sign Andre [Iguodala] and Shaun [Livingston]. And it was just an unbelievable sacrifice by KD. But mine didn’t matter.”

It’s true that it made much more sense for Durant to accept a discount than Curry. The Warriors held Curry’s Bird rights, meaning the team could make him a five-year maximum salary offer without affecting other free agents. If Curry had taken a discount on the first year, it would have impacted his earnings in all future seasons as well, since raises are limited to 8% annually. Durant, on the other hand, is likely to opt out of his new deal in 2018, so he’ll likely trade a few million dollars this year for a larger – and longer-term – payday a year from now.

If Durant had wanted a max deal of his own this offseason, the Warriors probably would have had to renounce both Iguodala’s and Livingston’s cap holds to make it happen, since the club didn’t hold KD’s full Bird rights.

Still, Durant accepted an even more significant discount than he needed to, allowing the Warriors to avoid going as deep into the tax as they otherwise might’ve. That aspect of Durant’s discount didn’t technically have an impact on the amount the Warriors could offer their free agents by CBA rules — it simply reduced the club’s projected tax penalties, perhaps making ownership more willing to spend on other players.

When considering Curry’s and Durant’s new agreements, it’s also worth noting that Curry was underpaid for the last several seasons, having just finished up a four-year, $44MM contract. He won two MVP awards and two titles during the life of that contract, so it made sense for the Warriors to reward him with a full max deal.

Contract Details: Teodosic, Curry, Durant, Harden

Milos Teodosic‘s new contract with the Clippers is worth $6MM in year one and $6.3MM in year two, with the team using a chunk of its mid-level exception to complete the signing, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Pincus explains, however, the deal isn’t quite that simple. It also features a 15% trade kicker, a partial guarantee of $2MM in year one, a partial guarantee of $2.1MM in year two, and a second-year player option (Twitter links).

What does that mean in practical terms? Well, Teodosic’s first-year salary will become guaranteed in a matter of days. It only features a partial guarantee initially so that a partial guarantee could be included on the second year as well. That second year will now function as a mutual option of sorts — if Teodosic picks up his option, the Clippers would still have a window to waive him and only be on the hook for a third of his salary ($2.1MM of $6.3MM).

Here are more details on new contracts from around the NBA, with all information via Pincus:

Western Conference:

  • The new super-max contract signed by Stephen Curry (Warriors) includes a 15% trade kicker and has no options (Twitter link). Kevin Durant‘s two-year deal with the Warriors also features a 15% trade kicker, though he’s even less likely than Curry to be dealt (Twitter link).
  • As for James Harden‘s super-max extension with the Rockets, the final year of that deal (2022/23) is a player option (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets signed undrafted rookie Cameron Oliver to a two-year, minimum salary contract that includes $300K in guaranteed money (Twitter link).
  • George Hill‘s deal with the Kings is frontloaded, with a $20MM cap hit in year one and $19MM in year two. Hill’s third-year salary of $18MM is only guaranteed for $1MM (Twitter link).

Eastern Conference:

  • J.J. Redick would earn an even larger salary on his one-year contract with the Sixers if he’s traded this season. The $23MM pact includes a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).
  • The Magic signed Shelvin Mack to a two-year contract worth an even $6MM annually, but only $1MM is guaranteed in year two (Twitter link).
  • Undrafted free agent Alfonzo McKinnie signed a two-year, minimum salary contract with the Raptors that features a $100K guarantee (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Gallinari, Randolph, Ingram

Expect the system the Clippers have in place to complement the skills of newly acquired Danilo Gallinari, Tyler Blint-Welsh of the Los Angeles Times writes.

One of the reasons I chose [the Clippers] is because of the team that we have,” he said. “So I have no doubt that I’m gonna fit in.”

The versatility that Gallinari brings to the franchise will help the squad play positionelss basketball, something ever more important in today’s evolving NBA. Having such options on the perimeter should make life easier for Clippers big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the post.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers shut Brandon Ingram down for the Summer League as a precautionary measure, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. The second-year forward gave his team a scare when he suffered a cramp in his leg toward the end of Friday’s Vegas league contest but the injury is minor.
  • When the Kings added Zach Randolph they added the type of veteran that will benefit their young players. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee interviewed Randolph’s former coach with the Grizzlies about what he brings on and off the court. “This is a process,” Lionel Hollins said, “And the process is enhanced by the quality of your veterans. You can’t have guys who sit on the bench, get paid and don’t help their young teammates. You have to have the right veterans because that will help the young players move up faster. So the young kids better come ready out there, because Zach is going to teach them how to be tougher, more physical and professional.
  • The decision that Kevin Durant made to take less money that what he was eligible for allowed the Warriors to retain their core and club general manager Bob Meyers is quick to applaud him for the gesture. “I can pretty much unequivocally say without it, we’re not looking at the team we have right now. What Kevin did shows who he is, shows what he’s about and I think it’s clear that that’s winning,” Myers told the Associated Press.

Kevin Durant Re-Signs With Warriors

JULY 6: Durant has officially re-signed with the Warriors, per RealGM’s transactions log.

JULY 3: Kevin Durant has agreed to a two-year, $53MM contact with the Warriors, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com tweets. The second year will be a player option, Haynes adds in another tweet. Durant’s salary for next season will be $25MM, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.Kevin Durant vertical

Durant’s willingness to take far less than a 20% raise aided the Warriors’ efforts to retain their free agents, Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Durant, who opted out of his contract with the full intention of re-signing with Golden State, was eligible to receive a maximum starting salary of $34.65MM. Durant, who made $26.54MM last season, decided to take significantly less than the expected 20% raise that would have secured him a $31.8MM salary for next season.

That is a major reason why the Warriors successfully negotiated new contracts with free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Iguodala, who was sought after by numerous clubs, agreed to a three-year, $48MM deal while Livingston agreed to stay put for three years and $24MM. In essence, as Thompson points out, Durant is gifting part of his salary for next season to his teammates.

Durant’s discount will also help ownership save some money on its luxury tax bill, depending upon how far over the tax line the franchise goes. Durant’s first-year salary will save the franchise approximately $20MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who projects Golden State will now pay $32.4MM instead of $52.4MM in luxury taxes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, Hill, Rockets, Hayward

Kevin Durant would have give the Warriors an even bigger discount to help them land Kings free agent Rudy Gay if Andre Iguodala had not agreed to re-sign, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. Durant agreed to a two-year, $53MM contract on Monday with a starting salary of $25MM. Iguodala agreed to a three-year, $48MM contract to remain with Golden State. Amick’s tweet gives insight into the type of money it will take to land Gay despite the Achilles tear he suffered last season.

In other free agent developments:

  • The Nuggets are still pursuing free agent point guard George Hill and trying to clear cap to make that happen, Amick tweets. Denver already made a big splash by reaching an agreement with power forward Paul Millsap on a three-year, $90MM contract. The Lakers are in serious discussions with Hill on a one-year deal but Los Angeles is also considering another free agent point guard, Rajon Rondo, according to Amick (Twitter link).
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey plans to hold onto his remaining non-guaranteed contracts and $3.3MM bi-annual exception, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Morey might add a player on a minimum contract, Feigen adds.
  • The Jazz’s meeting with Gordon Hayward on Monday lasted 3 1/2 hours and included newly-acquired point guard Ricky Rubio, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Hayward held meetings with the Heat and Celtics the previous two days and is expected to make a decision within the next two days.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, Hayward, Gay, Kings

The defending NBA champion Warriors started free agency off with a bang, agreeing to terms with two-time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry to the richest pact in league history. The team will reportedly sign Curry to a five-year deal worth $201MM+ and now the focus turns to retaining the remainder of Golden State’s championship-winning roster.

Last year’s prized acquisition, Kevin Durant, led the team to a championship and is now a free agent. However, Chris Haynes of ESPN (via Twitter) reports that teams have not reached out to Durant’s camp to gauge his interest in leaving because they see it as a “waste of time.” Earlier this week, it was reported that Durant will wait to re-sign with the Warriors to allow the team to finish other offseason business, and he will not meet with other teams during that stretch.

Below are additional rumors surrounding this year’s free agency period:

  • If the Heat’s pursuit of Gordon Hayward falls through, the team may turn its attention to fellow free agent Rudy Gay, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical (via Twitter). Mannix adds that Gay told the outlet he should be ready for the start of the season as he recovers from a torn Achilles.
  • The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor (via Twitter) cites three league sources who believe the Heat are the frontrunners for Hayward. The sunny beaches and warm weather of Miami, a popular coach in Erik Spoelstra, and a prominent role in which he can be the team’s primary scorer are all lucrative incentives, O’Connor notes. However, O’Connor acknowledges that it’s a fluid situation, and a lot could change based on Hayward’s meetings.
  • Restricted free agent Alan Williams is a “serious” candidate to sign with the Knicks, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). While the Suns could match any offer for Williams, their willingness to do so may hinge on who else they’re able to land in free agency.
  • The Kings are intent on landing a power forward in free agency, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, who tweets that Zach Randolph, Patrick Patterson, and Taj Gibson are all on Sacramento’s radar. We had previously heard about the team’s interest in Randolph and Patterson.
  • According to Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter), the Pistons have been in contact with Reggie Bullock, Aron Baynes, and restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope since free agency opened late on Friday night.
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