The number is stunning.
Just look at it — 84,850,000.
I don't care if you're talking about apples or airplanes, pencils or pachyderms. Eighty-four million of anything is significant.
So it is with Kevin Durant's contract.
The young superstar is expected to agree to a contract extension with the Thunder soon and the team is likely to give Durant the maximum in both years and dollars. The exact value of his deal won't be known until next summer when the salary cap is set, but the current projections indicate Durant won't be hurting for spare change.
His five-year deal is expected to be around $84.85 million.
Talk about sticker shock.
But you know what the Thunder should do? They should pay up and do it with a smile on their faces.
Durant is worth the price. He's proven to be a perfect franchise player.
He has delivered on the court. Last season, he not only led the league in scoring but also guided the Thunder to the playoffs. He is continuing to improve, bettering his defense and diversifying his game.
Even though he is already a superstar, Durant is still working to get better. That's no small thing.
Neither is the maturity Durant has shown off the court.
He is a great locker room guy. His hard-working attitude and team-first mentality have endeared him to his teammates. They love playing with him and enjoy singing his praises because they respect him so much.
Durant has helped foster a level of team chemistry that is rare in professional sports.
Consider this — these guys will occasionally walk back to the hotel after shootaround when they're on the road. They do it because they like being together.
Think they'd do it, though, if Durant didn't?
Durant is more than good for this team. He's a good for this community, too.
He has been nothing but an upstanding citizen. Not only has he never been on the police blotter, but he's also been a champion of Oklahoma City. He's never dogged the city. He's always proclaimed his love.
That's big. This is a world-wide star who could bemoan the fact that he's in one of the NBA's smallest markets. But Durant has always given the indication that he's pleased as punch to be in Oklahoma City.
In every way, Durant has earned every last dollar of a max contract.
Let's not kid ourselves — this is ridiculous money. This contract, which would kick in for the 2011-12 season, is the kind of money the sports world in this state has never seen. Not even Bob Stoops makes this kind of coin.
The year-by-year breakdown of what this contract is projected to be is mind-boggling.
First year: $14,025,000.
The numbers are massive. The salary is remarkable.
Thing is, the same could be said of Durant.
He is worth every last penny — all 84,850,000,000 of them.