Joe Lacob’s honest thoughts on Kevin Durant possibly leaving in 2019

Kevin Durant re-signed with the Golden State Warriors in July on a two-year, $61.5 million max contract, with the second year of the deal being a player option.

Called a one-plus-one deal, Durant said in July his new contract leaves his financial and team options open. The nine-time All-Star will make $30 million this season and $31.5 million for the option year in 2019 if he picks it up. If he doesn’t, Durant will become an unrestricted free agent.

Durant signed a two-year, $51 million deal last offseason with Golden State, taking close to $10 million less than what he could have earned on a max salary so the Warriors could retain forward Andre Iguodala and backup point guard Shaun Livingston. Golden State owner Joe Lacob says for that reason alone, he wants Durant to be happy and, while he obviously prefers Durant retires with the Warriors, Lacob says whatever decision his star player makes in 2019 will be one that the scoring machine has earned.

“KD’s been great. He’s my hero, man,” Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “He’s been a really good partner for us. He’s taken a little, as you know, a little bit of a discount over the last few years that has allowed to do a few extra things. I’m never going to forget that.

“He deserves to go and be happy wherever he wants to be. I hope it’s here. I hope he feels the same way that I do and we do about him, when it comes time next summer. But you never can predict these things. We just will do our job, and he’ll do his job and we’ll see what happens next summer. Let the chips fall where they may.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in July he’s confident the franchise will be able to afford a roster and luxury tax bill that hits $300 million in the 2019-20 season. Golden State will open its new arena in San Francisco that season, which will surely bring in more revenue to the organization.

Since joining the Warriors in 2016, Kevin Durant has won two championships and two Finals MVPs. In 130 regular season games with Golden State, Durant is averaging 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from long distance, and 88.2 percent from the free-throw line.

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