Kevin Durant explains decision to take massive pay cut

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson (11) shakes hands with teammates Draymond Green (23) and Kevin Durant during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won 106-94. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Many expected the Golden State Warriors to have to face some tough decisions regarding some of their free agents this summer. With the team having to give Stephen Curry a max contract and also lock up Kevin Durant on a new long-term deal, some believed the team was going to have to part ways with key contributors like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

However, Durant wound up taking a massive paycut, which allowed Golden State to keep both Iguodala and Livingston on new deals. Durant accepted a two-year deal worth $53 million in order to help the Warriors keep their championship core in place.

In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Durant detailed his decision to take less than market value to stick with Golden State:

“Well, I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going and looking at Andre [Iguodala] and Shaun (Livingston) and Steph (Curry) — they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve. Because they were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve. So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.”

Durant has made no shortage of money to this point in his career, but it is still somewhat unusual to see an athlete in his prime forfeit as much cash as he did. KD will have the chance to opt-out and put together a new long-term deal with the Warriors again next summer.

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