NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doesn't want another Kevin Durant situation in his league.
Kevin Durant is now a multi-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors. But, it wasn't that long ago, Durant was part of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the leader of a team that had been competitive for a number of years, often coming just shy of winning it all. So, when Durant decided not to stick with the Thunder, it was a bit disappointing, but not all that surprising. What was shocking was his decision to take somewhat of a backseat and forego a huge salary jump to join an already dominant Warriors team led by Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. It was a move NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took a lot of flack for and something Durant is often still criticized for to this day.
Allowing one team to get so stacked was a bad look for the NBA who already has a reputation for being a three or four-team league. Year after year, the game continues to be dominated by the same franchises and players like Durant haven't helped the cause, choosing to move to destinations where three big-name players can get together or one man can make a huge difference to every game.
Where Silver caught a lot of heat was the perception that this type of move by players may become commonplace. One example, Durant has already noted that he intends to stay in Golden State next season making them the clear favorites to repeat and win four championships in five years.
During Wednesday's episode of Golic and Wingo on ESPN Radio, Silver made sure to suggest Durant's situation is not the norm and that these types of signings and defections are unlikely to happen again because the salary cap will not be a factor the way it was in 2016 when Durant jumped ship. Silver said, "It was a bit of an aberration in our system, we had a spike in our cap, it enabled them to have additional cap room. The Warriors will tell you they would have figured out a way to get it done anyway."
That summer, the NBA salary cap went from $70 million to $94.1 million in 2016-17— a $24 million dollar jump. Because Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green had already signed their extensions under the old system, Durant's $26.5 million salary fit under the cap when it otherwise wouldn't have.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver weighs in on Golden State fatigue... pic.twitter.com/k4xDB1sapH— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) June 20, 2018
For fans who hate that there's so little parity in the NBA, there is good news on the horizon. Next summer figures to be the first time Golden State faces the possibility of breaking up its core four when Thompson is eligible for free agency in 2019. The following season, Green will be seeking a new deal. Both will see significant raises and one will likely have to find his money elsewhere.
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