The Golden State Warriors just recently formed their “super team” with the announcement of Kevin Durant‘s move to Oakland.
With still a year to go before next season’s free agency, the Warriors are already thinking ahead and mapping out their next moves in order to sign two of their superstars, Stephen Curry and Durant. It will be a very complicated and tedious process but the team will be willing to go through it as long as they’ll keep the services of the former and reigning back-to-back MVPs.
Accoding to Tim Kawakami’s Talking Points Blog on the Mercury News, there will be a lot of factors to consider before offering them both contracts to sign. It’s not as easy as that.
The first thing to consider is the final cap figure that is going to be set for next season. How low it will be is still up in the air. Even if it takes a dip, adjustments can be made to it as it has happened in the past, and that can be of big help to the Warriors. As explained by Kawakami, it will not be the only determining factor of the team’s capability for making an offer, but it will make things even trickier for them.
It is also expected that Durant will opt-out of his current contract next year in order for him to earn more. If that happens, the 2015 champions will need to fit his max contract into cap space.
Here are three things to consider given this scenario:
1. The Warriors own Curry’s Bird rights (the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary). To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent, which Curry satisfies. This allows Golden State to sign all other players including Curry’s $16.4 million cap hold, and Durant, and then give Curry the max above the salary cap.
This has been the practice of smart teams, paying their Birds rights players their salary cap hold and then extending them above the cap line.
The Warriors will definitely need to pay the luxury tax with this move, but after all their recent success, they have already made the money enough to pay this. Besides, the team owners certainly have been anticipating this and will be willing to pay as long as they keep these two stars.
2. Another option for the team, in case there is a cap jam, will be to give Durant a 20% increase on his current $26.5 million salary. It may not be the max but it will an amount that he would consider. Durant will need to opt-out after next season, take the $31.8 million and sign another two-year deal with an opt-out option after one. He would then need to do the same but take $38.2 million the year after. Durant can then sign a four-year contract in 2018 with 7.5% increases per year.
It may sound very complicated but this is a very viable option for the Warriors. If this happens, they will have the capability to keep both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston‘s cap holds.
It would still all be up to The Durantula if he is willing to leave close to $2 million on the table as his max next season would be $33.6 million. Either way, Durant will need to sacrifice money or the Warriors will have to give up Iguodala and Livingston in the process.
3. In order to make room for KD’s signing, they had to see five of their rotation players move out. It must have been hard for them to see that, but they did. The Warriors figured out how to fit Durant to their core four group. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber could do something similar next summer if it came to that.
Needless to say, there will be a lot of maneuvering to do with the team’s payroll. But the Warriors are on the right-track and as early as now are planning well for it.
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