LOS ANGELES • Kevin Durant, just weeks after winning a National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in his first season with the Golden State Warriors, gave his team another helping hand on Monday when he agreed to a pay cut in his new contract.
Durant, an eight-time All-Star, was expected to sign a two-year deal that will pay him about US$25 million (S$34 million) next season, according to media reports in the United States.
After earning about US$26.5 million last season, the forward was eligible for a new contract that could have paid him as much as US$34.5 million next season.
But he agreed to take less money to make room for his team-mates Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, who negotiated new deals with the Warriors last weekend.
Considering that Durant, who will turn 29 in September, took almost US$10 million less than he could have to remain with the Warriors, it was an appreciation of what he has with the champions.
As one source put it: "He wants to win and have fun more than anything."
With the team expected to blow past the NBA's US$99 million salary cap for next season, Durant's contract will lessen the luxury tax burden for the Warriors' ownership group.
Stephen Curry, a two-time Most Valuable Player, also hammered out a new deal with the Warriors last week that will be worth US$201 million over five years.
ESPN was the first to report the details of Durant's new contract, which includes a player option for the second year.
The deal will almost certainly raise new questions for the players' union, which has a new collective bargaining agreement with the league, but generally does not want to see its most talented stars taking pay cuts.
No less an eminence than the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James - a member of the union's executive committee - weighed in on the subject over the weekend, arguing that Curry, even with his new contract, was underpaid given the ever-increasing value of NBA franchises.
"Steph should be getting 400M this summer 5 yrs," James wrote on his Twitter account.
Durant was named the Finals MVP after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.
NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST