Sports | June 26, 2019 1:37 pm

Kevin Durant Turns Down $31.5M to Become Unrestricted Free Agent

Durant is now in New York mulling his free agency options

Kevin Durant in Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty)
Kevin Durant in Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty)
Getty Images

Kevin Durant has declined his $31.5 million option to stay with the Golden State Warriors in the Bay Area and will become an unrestricted free agent when NBA free agency kicks off next month.

The move, while not a complete shock, means the 30-year-old will not collect more than $30 million to sit on the sidelines next season, as he is expected to do after rupturing his Achilles during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Durant’s decision also does not rule out him returning to Golden State on a multi-year deal as he is still eligible to ink a five-year, $221 million deal with the team.

However, that’s far from a given as league sources tell ESPN that the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and L.A. Clippers are also in the mix to sign the talented forward. Should he sign with one of those clubs or another team, Durant can only get four years at $164 million.

Any team that wants to sign Durant, a two-time NBA Finals MVP with the Warriors, is expected to offer him a full max contract.

Prior to Durant’s injury, Athletic columnist Marcus Thompson II, told InsideHook that “nobody knows” where Durant is going this summer.

“The Warriors feel confident, but so do the Knicks, and so do the Clippers,” Thompson said. “I just know a lot of things have to happen. At the end of all this, if Kevin Durant signs a five-year deal for the most money ever and says ‘I don’t know what y’all were talking about. I never said I was leaving, I was always staying’ … Would he be wrong? He could do that. It was people talking and maybe it was credible but nobody would blink if he said that. It would make the most sense in the world.”

Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman are in New York mulling over the 12-year pro’s free-agency options.

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