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National Basketball Association playoffs 2018: Predictions, picks for Warriors vs. Spurs first-round series

13 April 2018

The reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant has chose to decline his player option for the 2018-19 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. It would be one thing if they just said that the Warriors were not the favorites without Curry, but to mention the Jazz and Thunder - two teams with no shot to win it all this year - does not happen without motives.

However, as reported by ESPN, the decision to become an unrestricted free agent does not mean Durant will leave Golden State, as the 29-year-old will instead restructure his deal with the reigning National Basketball Association champions. Houston has won the conference title four times, last doing so in 1995.

The Warriors enter the National Basketball Association playoffs having lost 10 of their last 17 games, with their offense and defense both ranking below league average over that span.

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By making less money than a player of his level, Durant enabled the Warriors to keep players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston on their roster.

Last summer Durant signed a two-year, $51 million deal, which was about $10 million less than what his max contract would have been.

In early March, Durant told The Athletic: "It made sense to do the one-year deal".

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Kevin Durant had previously turned down a player option for the Golden State Warriors. Durant's five-year income breakdown would be $37.8 million, $40.8 million, $43.8 million, $46.8 million and $49.9 million. At the time, I said it was the right decision, but given the draw the Warriors landed on Wednesday, it looks like a downright stroke of genius.

Durant, 29, has averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per contest in 68 games this season.

Durant could very well be looking at a four-year, $158 million contract-or something shorter if he wants to afford himself more flexibility.

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Alternatively, the 2014 MVP could pen a three-year deal which allows him to opt out after the second season. But what is often missing in that conversation is that he has become the best player (not most valuable) on the team.

National Basketball Association playoffs 2018: Predictions, picks for Warriors vs. Spurs first-round series