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OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant praises Serge Ibaka extension

by Berry Tramel and Anthony Slater Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm •  Published: August 24, 2012
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant pumps his fist in the final seconds of the 77-75 win over the Lakers during Game 2 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the L.A. Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday,  May 16, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant pumps his fist in the final seconds of the 77-75 win over the Lakers during Game 2 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the L.A. Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com

Kevin Durant is in Dallas this week, promoting Friday’s regional premiere of his new movie Thunderstruck.

And in advance of the release, Durant sat down with ESPN.com, chatting about everything from his acting skills to his Olympic experience.

Durant also reacted to the latest basketball news out of OKC, praising Serge Ibaka and the front office for working out an extension and expressing optimism that James Harden and the Thunder can do the same.

Here’s the full interview with ESPN’s Marc Stein. Below are some of the highlights:

On Ibaka’s extension…

It’s a really big deal. I’m happy for him, first of all, him and his family. He worked so hard to get that [extension] and I’m just excited that he’s signed on for four more years and really believes in us. He easily could have said no, waited for next summer, played well this year and got more [money]. But he sacrificed for us and we appreciate him for that. He’s the ultimate team player. \

On Harden’s contract situation…

I want James to be here with us, of course. He’s one of my closest friends. Hopefully it works out, that’s all I can say. I haven’t asked [Thunder GM] Sam [Presti] about anything and I haven’t asked James about anything. I’m just going to let that take care of itself, be the best teammate I can be and hopefully by the time camp starts we have him locked up.

On if he views the Thunder as Western Conference favorites…

Who knows? It’s different every year. What we did last year is out the door, though. We can’t bring that into the new season. The target is going to be on our back, just like it has been for the last two years.

On his Olympic experience (and if he was worried they’d lose to Spain)…

I wasn’t. Because we had so many guys that can change the game with one play. We got the Kobes and LeBrons and Melos and CP3s and D-Wills and Russells. We knew that team was going to be bigger than us and we knew they were going to pound it down low to try to beat us, but it feels really good, just to see how well we came together as a unit and how happy everybody was for each other. I remember when Melo went on that tear and he scored 37 points in 14 minutes, everybody was so excited for him. Everybody was happy that he broke the [American] scoring record [in the Olympics]. When LeBron got his triple-double, guys in the locker room were so happy for him. It was just fun to be a part of. You could tell that everyone was just focused on team.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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