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Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant could be looking at a contract worth $200m over five years as he looks ahead to free agency next summer.
The topic of Durant’s future will likely dominate headlines from now until next year if he decides not to announce where his future lies, with the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards all reportedly in play.
However, while that aspect of his future is unclear, it is certain that he will be in for a mega pay-day given the impact that the NBA’s new TV deal will have on the league as a whole.
“Thunder officials understand there are no guarantees with Durant. They know they can offer the most money — several executives believe a max deal for Durant in the new TV revenue-infused market in 2016 could be worth in the neighborhood of $200 million over five years — and they believe Durant likes playing in Oklahoma City,” Chris Mannix of SI reported.
The current record for the richest contract in NBA history belongs to Kobe Bryant after he signed a seven-year deal worth $136.4m, the contract he agreed to before his current one.
While that figure will undoubtedly shock many, Bryant did help deliver two NBA titles in that time and collected an MVP award and NBA Finals MVP accolade to boot. In addition, given his overall contribution to the franchise in helping the Lakers continue to sell-out the Staples Center and continue to build their fan-base across the world, that deal was ultimately worth it.
That is something that the Oklahoma City Thunder would also do in their current situation in order to keep Durant tied in, and with the NBA’s $24 billion television deal, Durant is going to get paid.
Nevertheless, if Durant doesn’t feel as though OKC can help him win a ring then he will consider other options, even though a team outside of the Thunder can only offer a four year deal with smaller numbers.
If he stays, he will likely set a record and get big money, if he becomes a free agent then he will have to sacrifice that in order to get a better shot at winning a championship.