Careers

Kevin Durant took a nearly $10 million pay cut to play for the Warriors—here's why

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Kevin Durant took a nearly $10 million pay cut — here's why

Golden State Warriors star player Kevin Durant proves that there really is no "I" — or "$" — in "team."

For the fourth consecutive year, the Warriors are playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals. But this time around, in order to keep their championship-winning team intact, Durant agreed to a nearly $10 million pay cut ahead of the season.

After winning last year's NBA title, Business Insider reports that the 29-year-old signed a two-year contract with the team that pays him $25 million for this 2017-2018 season. That figure is $1.5 million less than he made the previous year, and $9.5 million less than he was eligible to receive.

In agreeing to the deal, which USA Today says is worth between $51-$53 million in total, Durant proves that short-term losses can sometimes set you up for long-term gain.

Kevin Durant and Steph Curry at media day.
Ari Levy | CNBC

"I told him it reminded me a little bit of Tim Duncan and his time with the Spurs," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Bay Area News Group. "He made max money, and then at key times in his career, he took a little less so they could add a player here and there."

Kerr says Durant's generous pay cut allowed the team to keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, which will hopefully lead to Durant and the team winning more titles.

"The way the league works, the way the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] works, it really kind of is up to the star player at key times to take a little haircut here and there," added Kerr. "Whether that's fair or not, I don't know. But I do know that Tim knew it was dramatically helping his own career and KD understands the same thing."

Kevin Durant #5 of the United States celebrates winning the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the U.S. and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games.
Getty Images

After signing with the Warriors for the 2016-2017 season, Durant faced a lot of backlash for his move from Oklahoma City.

"Yeah, I hear all the narratives throughout the season that I was joining, I was hopping on bandwagons, I was letting everybody else do the work," Durant told NBC Sports. "But then that was far from the truth."

In the end, Durant's move to the Warriors paid off with a championship win last year, and a possible title win this year. As for whether or not he will take another pay cut to keep his high-performing team intact, Durant says he's unsure.

"That's not setting a good precedent for me if I'm like, 'Man, I'm taking 10,'" NBC Sports reports him saying. "They're going to start taking advantage of me. You know what I'm saying? I know it's a business, too. So I've got a business to handle as well. We'll see what happens, but I don't see myself taking that big of a cut."

This is an updated version of a post that appeared previously.

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