Spurs to open playoffs at Warriors after loss in regular season finale

SPURS    
          Kawhi to miss Game 1 versus Golden State team announces

Golden State Warriors' All-Star forward Kevin Durant has reportedly made a decision to decline his player option for the 2018-19 season, thus making him an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

The Golden State Warriors superstar plans to opt out of his contract this summer before restructure his deal in order to remain with the team, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported Wednesday, citing National Basketball Association sources. Last offseason, the NBA Finals MVP signed a discounted two-year, $51 million deal that came with an opt-out clause.

Teams have been forced to adapt to defending Curry and not having to make that call in the scouting report makes for a simplified game plan - no matter who the Warriors face in the first round.

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.

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"Financially, obviously, what I wanted to do previous year, it made sense", Durant told the Athletic in March.

The Warriors have three All-Stars and a former NBA Finals MVP on their roster without Curry in the lineup - there's a ton of talent remaining - but Golden State's end-of-season struggles, highlighted by the team's embarrassing 119-79 loss to the Jazz in the regular-season finale, raises questions. He took nearly $10 million less than he could have earned on a max salary.

According to ESPN, the 2 overall pick of the 2007 draft could sign a four-year max contract worth around $158 million or he could sign a two-year deal with a player option for the 2019-20 season. 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 is earning much less than what a player of his caliber should be getting. Houston averaged 112.4 points per game this season while improving their defense and allowing just 103.9 per game. He has added a defensive element to his game this year making him one of, if not the best two-way player in the National Basketball Association.

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