Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
The Golden State Warriors have relied on Kevin Durant in the playoffs and the NBA Finals. That may change because the team is preparing themselves for a future where Durant isn't a member of the Warriors.
After this year, Durant can be a free agent and that is what everyone expects him to do. He will make a lot of money and even a max if he leaves the Warriors. Durant is the best player in the league and can change a franchise around. Teams will chase him and he will be listening.
The atmosphere in Golden State is not the best. Despite having a great roster with five superstar starters, they are worried about the future. All the superstars besides Stephen Curry will be free agents. DeMarcus Cousins is the only one that is guaranteed to leave. The others are a toss up as of now.
Will the Warriors pay their stars max contracts? They can't afford to pay all of them. Curry is making $37 million this season and Durant is making $31 million. That is about have the Warriors salary cap.
Both Curry and Durant deserve to be paid a lot. Curry wasn't paid his worth on his last contract so the Warriors had to pay him. At one point, six Warriors were making more than Curry which is crazy since he is their best player.
Durant is the best player in the league and has to be paid a lot for his talent. He has taken a pay-cut so he has made his sacrifices. The Warriors can't keep a team like theirs intact without players making sacrifices.
I think Durant will not be making any more sacrifices for the team. He is seeing his peers getting paid max contracts and wants in. He is still in his prime and has won two NBA championships. He has nothing left to prove and can now sign a max contract and be content.
Golden State can't afford to pay him a max. They have too many players to pay and need to pay them their worth. Not all the players on their roster will take pay-cuts.
It is good that the Warriors are prepared for Durant's departure. Unlike other teams, they won't be trading him because his contract expires. They are more than grateful for Durant's sacrifices for the team and want to keep him there as long as possible.