The first major domino of free agency has fallen.
Following his Achilles injury suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, there was a small chance Durant would opt in for next season with the Golden State Warriors. That would have allowed him to earn a guaranteed $31.5 million while he recovers. Though a return to the Warriors is still possible, declining his option could suggest Durant is hoping to secure a max deal this summer despite likely having to sit out the majority of next season.
By signing a max contract with another team, Durant would guarantee himself approximately $167 million over the next four years with about $38 million assured in the first year alone. The Warriors can offer Durant a fifth year, which would raise his potential total earnings to approximately $221 million.
Wojnarowski notes Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman are currently in New York privately evaluating the star's free-agency options.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said earlier in June that Durant's injury won't dissuade the club from attempting to re-sign the forward. The Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets are also reportedly interested in signing Durant.
Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his third season with Golden State, but his postseason scoring was unmatched as he dropped a league-best 32.3 points per playoff game.
Injuries ultimately derailed his stellar playoff run, however. The 30-year-old missed nine games with a calf strain suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets before rupturing his right Achilles tendon upon his return in Game 5 of The Finals against the Toronto Raptors.