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REPORT: Kevin Durant not expected to opt in, but will re-sign with Warriors

Kevin Durant

The biggest fish that’s expected to hit the free agent market past the July 3 deadline remains to be Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James. Not far behind him is Kevin Durant, though, not many expect him to go anywhere else.

After helping the Golden State Warriors win the team’s second NBA title in a row, Durant is reportedly going to opt out of his player option for 2018-19, which is worth $26.3 million. However, that move does not portend that the former league MVP is leaving the Bay Area. Instead, it’s just a means for him and the Warriors to negotiate on a new deal, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Durant has taken discounts with the Warriors before, an act of unselfishness necessary to keep the core of the team together. If Durant asserted his status as one of the game’s most lethal scorers in history to get signed to a maximum contract, the Warriors would have likely been unable to ink Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala to new deals.

This year, however, it seems that Durant is no longer interested in getting paid well below the equivalent of his stature – and neither does the Warriors. In fact, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said earlier his month that Durant can get “whatever he wants.”

Although the Warriors were loaded with talent last season, Durant played a key role in keeping Golden State’s head above water during high-pressure moments, as he averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.8 blocks in the regular season. In the playoffs, he revved up his production, posting 29.0 points on 48.7 percent shooting from the floor.

With Durant virtually assured of remaining a Warrior, Golden State is once again expected to win it all next year.