It begins: Free agency in National Basketball Association starts with a flourish

Since joining Golden State, Kevin Durant's free agency has been as anticlimactic as the Warriors' title pursuits.

Durant had stressed repeatedly throughout the 2017-18 season he planned to re-sign with the Warriors for fairly obvious reasons. The assumption is that Durant is just trying to use smaller contracts to take advantage of a rising cap, but at the same time he's giving himself an out if he wanted to leave Golden State in the future.

The second year of the deal is a player option, league sources said, allowing Durant the option to return to the free-agent market in the summer of 2019.

Players can not officially sign their new contracts until July 6. While $30.5 million is a lot of money to the casual observer, it's actually less than the $35.65 million max that he could have earned. But want him to be happy and want him to know that we want him as long as he wants to be here. So did plenty of other players, and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old, almost $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to the AP by people involved in the various decisions.

Now that Durant is officially off the board, all eyes return to the single biggest story of the offseason by far: LeBron's free agency.

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The New York Times first reported Durant's intention to sign the deal.

That said, there are still a bunch of young, promising restricted free agents who could draw big offer sheets, such as Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker.

The move, which can become official on Friday, further validates Oklahoma City's decision to send a package - including Most Improved Player Victor Oladipo - to IN a year ago for George, who clearly enjoyed playing with Russell Westbrook with the Thunder. After bolting from Cleveland in 2010, he returned in an emotional homecoming four years later, determined to make the Cavs champions.

Day 1 of National Basketball Association free agency was not lacking for fireworks or firepower, led by James' decision to leave Cleveland for a second time and join the Los Angeles Lakers.

The reality, of course, beats the alternative, but one could argue that instead of treading water, the Rockets took a step backward by losing Ariza, and there's no obvious way to replace his impact going into next season. This kind of deal is also known as a one-plus-one contract. However, this is setting him up for a huge contract in the following summer if he chooses to opt out again.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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