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Warriors would have to pay $1.6 billion to keep Kevin Durant and All-Star core intact over next 4 seasons

Kevin Durant, Warriors

The Golden State Warriors would wind up paying a king’s ransom to keep this All-Star-studded core together, as retaining Kevin Durant with a max deal along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green could cost them a whopping $1.6 billion over the next four seasons, according to ESPN Insider Bobby Marks.

The Warriors will likely be elbows-deep in the luxury tax even if Durant chooses to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and leave.

Majority owner Joe Lacob has said before that the team intends to pitch Durant on a long-term contract, but to do that and also give the other key members their due contracts would be to force the team to pay exorbitant levels of money.

Here’s what it would look like if the Warriors were to sign a league-record four players to max contracts by re-signing Durant and Thompson this summer and then extending Green on a max deal that starts in 2020-21:

SEASONSALARYTAXTOTAL
2019-20$176.2M$203.5M$379.7M
2020-21$180.2M$169.8M$350.0M
2021-22$196.2M$231.6M$427.8M
2022-23$203.2M$229.0M$432.0M

Grand total: $1.59 billion.

Keeping that core of All-Star-caliber talent together and filling the roster with mostly minimum players, plus including the tax mid-level exception and Kevon Looney on a three-year, $15 million deal, would cost Golden State close to $1.6 billion in salary and luxury tax in the next four seasons, more than three times what the team cost when first bought by this ownership group ($450 million in 2010).

In this scenario, Durant’s injury could give the Warriors a $9.2 million Disabled Player Exception if the league thinks his Achilles injury would hold him out until June 15, 2020.

This would help the Warriors sign a free agent or acquire a player via trade or from waivers to a one-year deal. However, making use of that full $9.2 million would cost the team an added $68 million toward the luxury tax.

The Warriors are now seeing the consequences of what happens when a relatively cheap roster full of young players all become stars looking for that big contract security. Curry has already cashed in on his long-term deal, while Durant, Thompson and Green are next to cash in this opportunity, one that is likely their last to earn as much as possible before aging past the point of little returns.

Neither of the aforementioned three players have given any indication that they would be willing to take a discount. Matter of fact, each of these players have at one point said they’re looking to get every dollar they’re worth, something that makes this Warriors elysium a fantasy that is difficult to keep.