OAKLAND -- Bob Myers did not drop to his knees and thank Kevin Durant for the financial sacrifice that gave the Warriors the financial flexibility to retain the likes of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
The team’s president/general manager came exceedingly close, though.
“His gesture of taking less gave us the ability to be very aggressive in pursuing Shaun and Andre,” Myers said Friday. “And I can pretty much unequivocally say without it, we’re not looking at the team we have right now.”
Upon opting out of the contract he signed last July -- a move that allowed the Warriors to utilize Bird rights to retain Iguodala and Livingston -- Durant could have demanded and gotten the maximum, roughly $34.8 million, to return to the Warriors next season.
The general belief was that Durant would accept $31.8 million, though league sources had informed NBCSportsBayArea.com that he would be flexible and was willing to go a few million lower than that.
Durant went nearly $6.8 million lower, re-signing for a deal that will pay him $25 million next season.
“(With) Kevin forgoing the max, which he obviously deserves and could’ve gotten from us or any team in the league, that allowed us to attempt to sign Andre and Shaun and not have to renounce them,” Myers said.
“What Kevin did shows who he is, shows what he’s about and it’s clear that that’s winning.”
The expectation is Durant will opt out of his new deal next summer and re-sign a long-term deal starting around $35 million and escalating well above $40 million.
The Warriors entered free agency last week with a projected cap on what they were willing to spend and still exceeded it, according to Myers. Their commitment to bringing back a successful core was greater than their desire to contain payroll.
And that was even with Durant’s assistance.
“To be honest, I would have never thought that Kevin and his business partner, Rich (Kleiman), would give us the opportunity to take less and allow us to be as aggressive,” Myers said. “I didn’t foresee that. But when given that opportunity we said, ‘Wow. Now we can go hard at bringing Shaun and Andre back quickly.”