Low-key Kevin Durant announces contract extension via Twitter

Kevin Durant didn't need a one-hour special on the "World Wide Leader." The Thunder's star was satisfied with just 140 characters.
By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: July 8, 2010 at 11:20 am •  Published: July 7, 2010

Kevin Durant didn't need a one-hour special on the "World Wide Leader."

The Thunder's star was satisfied with just 140 characters.

As the NBA world, and millions beyond it, has become captivated by which franchise LeBron James will make his new home — while James milks it for all it's worth — Durant decided to downplay his somewhat similar plans for his future.

Unlike James, who is scheduled to announce on ESPN at 8 tonight which team he'll sign with, the soft-spoken Durant chose to not speak at all about his contract extension with the Thunder.

Durant opted for Twitter, the popular social-networking site that spreads messages to the masses, 140 characters at a time. Just before 10 a.m. Oklahoma time, Durant announced to his nearly 200,000 followers that he had agreed to a five-year extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City through the 2016 season. The deal was originally projected to be between $85 million and $86 million, according to Durant's agent, Aaron Goodwin.

But with the NBA announcing next year's salary cap will increase to $58.044 million for the 2010-11 season, Durant's contract will rise as well. Exact figures of the deal won't be known until next July. A maximum contract extension for the upcoming season, however, would be $87.7 million over five seasons.

Durant's deal doesn't kick in until the 2011-12 season, but should the salary cap rise again, the Thunder's star could be in line for closer to a five-year, $90 million deal.

"This is more of a wake-up call than anything, just letting me know that this is just the beginning for me," Durant told The Oklahoman. "I just got to keep improving and letting people know that I really deserve this."

The contract does not contain a player option, a clause that would have allowed Durant to become a free agent following the fourth year of the deal. Durant didn't want one.

"I'm a very loyal person," Durant explained. "People say that might hurt me sometimes, but I think it's a great attribute that I have. By them offering me the max, it shows me that they're loyal to me as well. So I was ready just ready to sign right then and there, opt out or not, and start moving forward.

"We're building something great here, and I didn't want anything to jeopardize that. I'm happy I'm a part of this organization, and hopefully everybody sticks together."

Team officials can't comment on the deal until it is signed, which is expected to take place today, the first possible date per league rules. But Durant confirmed that Thunder general manager Sam Presti and assistant general manager Troy Weaver arrived at his home at 11:01 on June 30, the earliest the league allows teams to conduct negotiations, and expressed their interest in retaining him for the long haul.

"They just really expressed to me how much they've enjoyed seeing me grow these last three years," Durant said. "Everything they envisioned is starting to come alive for me. One thing Sam said to me is from Day One I haven't changed at all.

"That's the kind of person I am. I'm sure if I would have been a guy that got big-headed or not been coachable or whatever, this wouldn't have come for me. So I just stayed the same person I am and I know if I continue to be humble and always work hard good things will come to me."

By agreeing to a new deal now, Thunder owners and management demonstrated the high level of commitment they have to the league's newest star. With the current collective bargaining agreement expiring June 30, 2011, Oklahoma City could have waited until next summer to complete a deal with Durant as a restricted free agent under CBA changes that are widely anticipated to be more favorable to the owners.

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BREAKING DOWN DURANT'S DEAL

A look at what Kevin Durant's new contract could look like.

2011-12: $14,511,000

2012-13: $16,034,655

2013-14: $17,558,310

2014-15: $19,081,965

2015-16: $20,605,620

Note: This is only a projection based on the salary cap that has been set for the 2010-11 season. Durant's deal is based on the cap number for the 2011-12 season, which will not be known until next July.

By Darnell Mayberry

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