Kevin Durant Says He Took Pay Cut So Teammates Could Be Paid ‘What They Deserve’
Kevin Durant Salary news
The reigning NBA Finals MVP revealed on Thursday that he accepted a lower salary for the 2017-2018 season so that his teammates — particularly Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Stephen Curry — could receive what they deserve.
“Well, I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going, and looking at Andre and Shaun and Steph, they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve,” Durant told The Athletic (theathletic.com). “Because they were all underpaid, and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve.
“So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together, and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.”
Durant, 28, signed for $25.9 million for the upcoming season, compared to $26.5 million he received in 2016-2017. The former No. 2 overall pick and eight-time NBA All-Star could have earned up to $34 million per year from Golden State.
The forward also fired back at people who criticized him for his decision, saying those individuals simply wanted to see salary differences on the Warriors’ roster cause a rift amongst the players. Durant added that he wasn’t seeking to improve his image by making the sacrifice, and that he took a page out of other All-Stars in the league who have signed multimillion-dollar contracts.
“They only [criticized] it because it’s the Warriors and it’s me and they love to hate anything we do right now,” Durant said. “A lot of players have [taken pay cuts]. It wasn’t that I wanted the praise. I’ve learned from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki and how it has helped them over the years, and I thought, if they did it, why can’t I? Why shouldn’t I sacrifice? People wanted the money to break us up, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Durant also said he approves of the Houston Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul this offseason, saying he believes the former Los Angeles Clippers point guard will pair well with former MVP candidate James Harden.
“It is interesting. You have two guys that really enjoy handling the basketball but really know how hard it is to do that for 40 minutes a night, 82 games, plus 16 in the playoffs,” said Durant. “They love handling the ball, but they know how tiring it is. They need each other to take the pressure off.”
“James wants to catch and shoot. I think that’s what all great players want to do. They don’t want to dribble 100 percent of the time. They want to go 50/50, sometimes catch and shoot and let teammates create. I feel they both want to do that now and I think it’s going to work extremely well because they’re both unselfish and can shoot. They’ve got real skills, so I think it’s going to be great for the league and obviously great for Houston.”
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after being named Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 to win the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California.