Kevin Durant has repeatedly said he would re-sign with the Golden State Warriors this summer. However, the process has grown increasingly awkward, thanks to the Warriors themselves.
During Tuesday’s championship parade, several public comments were made about Durant’s next contract, perhaps none as awkward as those from GM Bob Myers.
During a pre-parade Q&A, Bob Fitzgerald of NBC Sports Bay Area asked Myers about comments he made in which he said Durant could have any contract he wants. Durant took less than the max last offseason to help the Warriors re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
“That was just for the media,” Myers joked. “He can’t have anything that he wants.”
Fitzgerald noted that Myers had once said Curry could have any contract he wants (Curry was underpaid for several years before signing a five-year, $201 million contract last summer).
“That was different,” Myers said. “He’s been here since the way before days … he’s earned it.”
Fitzgerald said, “And there ended the Warriors’ cohesion right there,” amid awkward laughter.
Later on, when Fitzgerald interviewed the Warriors stars, he said: “I’m gonna stand in front of KD … Before his Warriors exit, I want to enjoy as much time with him as possible.”
Durant simply shook his head. Later on, he reiterated his contract stance, saying: “Why was that even a discussion? Why we even talking about that? For sure, we going to do this thing again.”
All of these comments, of course, were jokes, one of which didn’t even come from a member of the Warriors.
Nonetheless, the NBA world was confused as to why Durant’s contract was being discussed publicly. As The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami noted, Myers may have felt awkward talking about the matter and the “he can have anything he wants” line in front of other players, many of whom can’t have anything they want. But his joke seemed only to make things worse.
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post reported that people all around the NBA raised their eyebrows at the comments.
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson joked about Fitzgerald’s comments ending the Warriors’ run.
At the root of the issue is Durant’s standing with the team, relative to Curry’s. There’s a sense that no matter how good Durant is or how many accolades he picks up as a member of the Warriors, they’re still Curry’s team. While Curry and Durant haven’t had any issues with each other, there’s still a balancing act involved in managing both stars.
According to Kawakami, the Warriors and Durant are still learning each other. Durant is a different personality to manage than the Warriors other stars. Steve Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that he had a meeting with Durant during the season, just because he sensed Durant was “drifting.”
The Warriors can and will pay Durant what he wants. The Warriors writers on The Athletic discussed on a recent podcast how Durant’s short-term deals with the Warriors had kept the team a little bit on edge. There’s no certainty to what lies ahead in the relationship.
The public comments on Wednesday didn’t change the team’s future as much as they shed light on how the relationship is still in the feeling-out process in some regard.