Kevin Durant is opting out of the two-year, $51 million deal he signed with Golden State last summer but has no intention of leaving the Warriors. ESPN reported Tuesday that Durant informed the Warriors of his decision.
By opting out, Durant could sign a four-year max contract for about $158 million.
Ownership has already committed to making a pact Durant approves of for next season and beyond, and in the euphoria of claiming another NBA title, Warriors general manager Bob Myers made inference to a blank check offer from the Warriors.
“Sometimes you don’t negotiate,” Myers said. “I’d love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year, he did us a great service (taking less than a max offer). He’s earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants.”
—Magic Johnson is confident he and the Los Angeles Lakers will lure big-name free agents to join the team, but he also isn’t putting all of his eggs in this summer’s basket.
When asked by reporters if it will be a failure if the Lakers don’t sign a star like LeBron James or Paul George next month, Johnson responded, “No, because I told you this is two summers.”
Johnson, who was named president of basketball operations in March of 2017, later added, “Next summer if nobody comes and I’m still sitting here like this, then it’s a failure. But if you judge us on one summer, that’s ridiculous. Then a lot of dudes shouldn’t be in their roles. Because if we’re banking on one summer for the Lakers, we’re in trouble.”
—The Los Angeles Clippers are trading point guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards in exchange for center Marcin Gortat, according to a report from ESPN.
Rivers, the son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers, is coming off a career year after taking over as the team’s primary point guard following the trade of Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets. The 25-year-old averaged 15.1 points and 4.0 assists in 61 games (59 starts), missing the entire month of January with a right Achilles tendon injury.
Austin Rivers will make $12.65 million next season if he exercises his player option as expected. Gortat will make roughly $13.5 million next season on the final year of his current deal. The 34-year-old big man averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in 82 games last season.
—Field Level Media