Behind The Scoreboard
The 2017 NBA free agency is winding down considerably.
For the past week, every team in the league looked to add value to its roster during this period of tug-of-war. Some of the biggest names in basketball have already come to terms on signing and trade deals that probably have left many of us in awe or perhaps stunned.
Let’s begin with Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant’s decision to sign a two-year contract, worth approximately $53M, to keep the Warriors’ core intact.
The 2017 NBA Finals MVP will be taking somewhere in the vicinity of a $9M pay cut, given the fact that he could have secured a max of $34M per year. This agreement gave Golden State every resource possibility to recruit and retain talent. Durant declined his 2017-18 player option to become a free agent for the sole purpose of allowing the Warriors to keep the Bird rights to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Both players are now locked in for three more seasons – thanks to Durant’s kind and noble gesture that helped the organization to produce the necessary finances to get those deals done. Had Iguodala left via free agency, Durant was willing to take even less to help restock the roster.
From the very beginning, Durant had been adamant about his decision to keep the heart of the Warriors’ roster together after he had left Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State a year ago. Durant’s new contract will net him $25M in 2018 with a player option for 2019. Durant is expected to decline the option and sign for the max then.
Speaking of Oklahoma City, the Indiana Pacers sent four-time all-star forward Paul George to the Thunder organization. The trade ends weeks of speculation regarding George, who had committed to playing with the Pacers in the 2017-18 season. George announced he would become a free agent next offseason and preferred to return home (Southern California) in hopes of playing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
George had been linked to several teams since the trade talks, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and the Houston Rockets. But Oklahoma won the prize – acquiring George. It’s a move that no doubt leaves reigning MVP Russell Westbrook happy and shifts another star player from the Eastern Conference to the West.
In exchange for George, Oklahoma shipped Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers. The ironic part about this trade for George, who had many major organizations around the league weighing the pros and cons of renting him for a year, is that his 2018 decision won’t ultimately decide whether this was a winning move or a losing one. But if George remains in Oklahoma City, it’s clearly a home run.