Things aren’t always what they seem in the NBA.
The pay cut Kevin Durant accepted in his new two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors is not one of them.
He took the discount for the exact reason you think he did—to keep the reigning champs together.
Here’s what Durant told The Athletic‘s Anthony Slater of his decision:
Q: Let’s shift to free agency a few weeks later. Everyone knows what you did, taking that nearly $10-million paycut. Was it an ‘Oh, if Andre (Iguodala) needs this much, I’ll take this much’ kind of situation? How did that decision come together?
DURANT: Well, I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going and looking at Andre and Shaun (Livingston) and Steph (Curry) — they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve. Because they were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve. 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.
Durant’s knockout punch at the end here is crucial. People criticized him for accepting less. They will destroy him if he opts in next summer. Not everyone likes the idea of million-dollar athletes saving money for billion-dollar owners.
But who gives a flying f-bomb? Like Durant said, it’s his money. It’s his choice. He’s free to do what he wants. That’s what we should be supporting: free will.
Besides, so many other people talk about how NBA players make too much money. Accepting pay cuts was once all the rage for conspiracy theorists who wanted to see Player X end up on Team Y to join forces with Player Z. Now all of a sudden it’s a problem? Screw that.
Yes, Durant did Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber a solid. But he didn’t do them a solid for the sake of them. He did it for him, and his Warriors teammates, and the chance to ensure one of the best squads ever retained its core players while having the flexibility, for now, to bring in someone like Nick Young at the taxpayer’s mid-level exception.
If that’s what he wanted to do, good for him. No one else should have a say in this, only him. What we ultimately think is irrelevant.