“Another variable: the national TV contracts. The big TV contracts expire in 2016. Speculation has the new contracts increasing by at least 50 percent, if not doubling. There could be a significant increase in both the salary cap and max salaries that summer. Durant's max salary could be quite a bit more.”
The Thunder can pay Durant more than can other franchises, “but it's not as impressive as you might think,” Hamm wrote. “The first-year max salary would be the same for him whether he re-signed with OKC or elsewhere. OKC will be able to offer a couple of things that other teams can't: a five-year contract (as opposed to four by another team) and 7.5 percent annual increases off the base salary (as opposed to 4.5 percent by other teams).
“Hypothetical example: let's say Durant's max salary is $25 million. OKC's offer would include annual raises of $1.875 million. Other teams could only offer $1.125 million annual raises. So OKC's offer would be five years, $143.75 million. Other teams could offer four years and $106.75 million.
“The rub is that if you look at both offers based on the first four years, the difference is not that significant (OKC's offer is better by only $4.5 million over four years). The fifth year is nice for security (some players place a lot of value on length of contract), but KD's going to eventually get that fifth year either way, so it's not a great advantage.”
By Berry Tramel