Durant may take less money to keep Warriors intact

Superstar could structure contract to help team retain Iguodala and Livingston

Kyle Terada | ZX02835
Kevin Durant speaks to the media

SACRAMENTO — Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant is willing to take less than the maximum contract extension this summer if it helps the team keep its core intact, ESPN reported on Thursday, citing league sources.

The move would permit the Warriors to keep their entire core together with two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry potentially signing one of the first five-year contracts created by the new collective bargaining agreement. In that light, a club can reward one designated veteran player per year with a contract starting at 35 percent of next year’s projected $101 million salary cap.In order for Golden State to sign Durant to a maximum possible extension, the team would have to renounce its rights to 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and fellow free agent Shaun Livingston to create room under the salary cap. That total would start at an estimated $35.4 million per year, as opposed to a little under $32 million without creating cap space.

Durant, who is the 2014 NBA MVP, is eligible for the 10-year veteran maximum contract after signing a two-year, $54.3 million contract with the Warriors last season.The 28-year-old, who averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season, spent his first nine years of his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.Golden State has won all 12 of its postseason contests heading into Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers.