Not 48 hours after winning his first NBA championship, Kevin Durant was ushered away from his end-of-season media session Wednesday to meet with Warriors general manager Bob Myers.
Warriors vice president of communications, Raymond Ridder said:
“Kevin needs to go upstairs to meet with Bob [Myers].”
As many might presume, the meeting between the two could consist of reflection of the team’s record-setting season.
But in a much more serious tone, it may also mark the beginning of the Warriors biggest hurdle of the offseason: contract negotiations.
Retaining a championship caliber roster may not seem difficult on the surface, but the logistics behind bringing back the core of that team is in reality, a tough task at best, as both Durant and two-time MVP Stephen Curry are both due for new contracts.
Amid speculations of having to let go of other crucial pieces of the roster, some Warriors don’t expect the team to look much different next season, including starting shooting guard Klay Thompson:
“I expect them to be back. I would be very shocked if they weren’t.”
So what challenges do the Dubs face if they want to keep the same team that just won the franchise’s fifth title?
The re-signing of Curry and Durant this offseason will likely make the harshest dent in Warriors’ pocketbook.
In Curry’s situation, the Warriors are looking at inking the franchise point guard to a five-year max deal that some expect to be worth roughly $207 million.
This comes as a realistic possibility due to the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that incentivizes players to stay with their original teams by being able to sign contracts worth up to 35 percent of the team’s salary cap.
“It is a business. There are decisions that need to be made every year. You gotta assess the situation as it is… The beauty of what I know and this team, we all want to provide for our families and get all that we can out of this game, while we still have the legs to do it.”
The real issue, however, comes with Durant’s contract, which will require more cooperation from the Finals MVP’s camp if the team wishes to re-sign other members of the team as well.
Durant is halfway through a two-year deal with an opt-out clause before the 2017-18 season, which many expect Durant to exercise.
If he does opt out, Durant is also looking at signing a max deal that would earn him roughly $36 million per year.
The problem with this scenario is that, by signing for the max, it will close the door in terms of signing essential bench players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both due for new contracts this offseason.
If Durant can instead take nearly a $5 million pay cut to make $31 million per year, most of these issues will subside.
Much to the delight of Warriors fans, Durant says that he will be considering that option:
“The last couple of days I’ve thought about it. But like I said, we’ll all figure something out, we’ll work something out. I want to be here. We just won a championship, man. Let’s see if we can do it again.”
Whether the Warriors front office and Durant’s management can negotiate a deal to not only keep him in Golden State, but other key members too, has yet to be seen.
And as the championship parade is set to hit the streets of Oakland in less than 24 hours, the wheels of contract negotiations are already turning.
With all the moving parts involved in keeping this championship roster together, it’s clear that Myers’ and the rest of the Warriors front office’s job has just begun.
Important deadlines to pay attention to according to hoopsrumors.com:
June 29 —Player, team and early termination options, except individual contracts.
June 30 — End of 2016-17 NBA year; last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency.
July 1 — Official start of 2017-18 NBA year; July moratorium begins. Free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams.
July 6 — July moratorium ends (9 a.m. PDT); teams can begin officially signing players and making trades.
July 13 — Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.