Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant could leave the Golden State Warriors next summer. In this picture, Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob paid tribute to Kevin Durant despite knowing they will have to re-recruit him next summer after he again signed a 1+1 deal earlier this summer.

The Warriors small forward will almost certainly become a free agent again next summer after signing a two-year deal with a player option in 2019. The Bay Area team’s owner admitted they would have liked him to sign a longer deal, but was grateful to have him in the squad.

Lacob also thanked Durant for signing the short-term deals, which he revealed has saved the franchise plenty of money in order to conduct other player business. He confirmed signing DeMarcus Cousins would not have been possible if Durant had signed a max contract and admitted he will forever remember the gesture.

"Sure. I would have liked to have had him — we would have liked to have had him —been here longer; sign a long-term deal," Lacob told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on The TK Show Podcast, as per Clutch Points. "But on the other hand, we're happy to have him. And you know, by him signing a one-year deal, it did save us a little bit of money actually.”

"So it allows us to do some other things. Like maybe we wouldn't have DeMarcus Cousins as an example. KD's been great. He's my hero, man,” he added. “He has been a really good partner for us. He's taken a little bit of a discount the last few years to allow us to do a few extra things. And I'm never gonna forget that."

And it was not the first time Durant turned down a max deal to sign a short-term deal for less money. In 2017, the Warriors forward could have signed a max deal that paid him around $34.7 million, but instead signed a deal worth $25 million which allowed the team to retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

In addition to him forfeiting around $6 million this summer, he has saved the team quite a chunk of money in the last two years. Durant is almost certain to become a free agent next summer, but he will be eligible to sign a five-year max deal with the Warriors for over $220 million.

But the other side is that he could also leave as an unrestricted free agent to any franchise of his choosing. The Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks have been heavily linked with moves for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Lacob is aware that they will have to re-recruit him next summer to ensure he remains in the Bay Area, but he is not too concerned and is willing to wait until the end of the season to see which way it goes.

"Of course we do," Lacob said. "He deserves to be able to go and be happy wherever he wants to be. I hope it's here. And I hope he feels the same that way I do, and we do, about him when it comes time next summer. But you never can predict these things.”

"We just will do our job and he'll do his job, and we'll see what happens next summer. And let the chips fall where they may."