Take it from someone who should know, Serge Ibaka told TMZ Sports Kevin Durant will be back with the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.
Serge Ibaka says he’s not sweating rumors of Kevin Durant bolting the Sooner state proclaiming to TMZ Sports he’s 100% sure KD’s sticking around.
Okay, so TMZ isn’t your usual source for sports news, but there’s logic behind Durant staying for at least another season or longer.
Durant fits into the 7-9 years of NBA experience range when determining his maximum starting salary this summer, so he can sign a deal starting at about $25.9 million. He will have 10 years of NBA experience after next season which, with the anticipated increase in the 2017-18 salary cap, means he could ink a new deal starting at an estimated $35.4 million next summer. A $10 million raise isn’t something Durant or his agent are going to just blow off.
If Durant stays in Oklahoma City, his team will retain his full Bird Rights even if he signs a one-year deal this July, so they can exceed the cap to re-sign him to a new deal a year from now. If he signs a one-year deal with any other team, that team will need to have the salary cap space to ink him to a new max deal next summer. Some teams may be able to accommodate this scenario, but it means they’d have to actually plan for it and that’s a lot of planning to attract a guy who isn’t even likely to leave his current team.
If Durant wants to maximize his earnings, he’ll sign a one-year deal with the Thunder this summer and then a new five-year deal worth well north of $200 million next summer to stay in OKC.