How Kevin Durant Made the Biggest Move in NBA Free Agency—Again

It was obvious that Durant was staying with the Golden State Warriors after winning his first title and being named the MVP of the Finals. It was also known that he would take less than his maximum salary to make it easier for the Warriors to keep their other important players. But how much he left on the table was the stunning twist.

Durant’s salary next season will be $9.5 million less than what it could’ve been, $6.8 million less than necessary and about $1.5 million less than what he earned last season.

His willingness to accept only $25 million helped Golden State’s owners save about that much in luxury tax, but it also helped the Warriors re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, and that means it helped Durant. This was essentially a happiness tax. The chance to win more titles was worth the price of losing millions of dollars.

.. star players can play together only when some of them settle for less money than they could be making.

.. in 2014 couldn’t have existed without their own salary-cap jiu-jitsu. Kobe Bryant alone earned more that year than Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginóbili combined

..  For the last three years, Curry has been the most underpaid player in professional sports, the reward for Golden State taking a risk on his bum ankles five years ago.

.. But the days of Curry’s discount are over. He agreed to the richest contract in NBA history last week, and there was no way Golden State could’ve kept its championship team fully intact without someone else taking a hit. Durant became the someone else.

.. the biggest splash of this NBA off-season wasn’t any player signing with a new team for more money. It was one player staying with the league’s best team for less money.