Kevin Durant Reportedly May Not Take Max Warriors Contract to Keep Team's Core

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2017

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant warms up Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals between the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, May 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Kevin Durant may be willing to pass on signing a max contract this offseason in order to keep the Golden State Warriors' core intact, it was reported Thursday.

According to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Chris Haynes, taking less than the max would save the Warriors from having to renounce the rights of reserves Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Durant is eligible for the 10-year veteran maximum this offseason, and it would pay him $35.4 million per season.

The most Golden State can offer Durant without the max is a little south of $32 million, but it would potentially save Iguodala and Livingston and leave some cap space for Stephen Curry to possibly sign a five-year "supermax" deal.

Shelburne and Haynes speculated that Durant may decide to sign another two-year deal with a player option on the second year, similar to what LeBron James has done with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When asked in April about his future on the Warriors Plus/Minus podcast (h/t Jordan Heck of Omnisport, via Sporting News), Durant suggested he would like to spend the rest of his career with the Dubs: 

"Obviously I'm thinking about the playoffs right now, so I haven't thought about it that much. But I don't plan on going anywhere else. Obviously you want to keep this group together. We want to see how far we can go with this thing, but I'm sure once the season is over with, we'll figure that stuff out, everybody. I'm sure it will all work out for the best."

Durant signed with the Warriors last offseason after nine years with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, and the move has paid dividends for both KD and Golden State.

The eight-time All-Star and former MVP averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game during the regular season. That production has carried over to the playoffs to the tune of 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest.

Golden State is undefeated so far this postseason, and it will begin the quest for its second championship in three years when it hosts the Cavs for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.