ORLANDO, Fla. -- Have no fear, Thunder fans.
Kevin Durant is still on good terms with the franchise.
Longtime anxiety had lingered about how the face of the franchise would respond if management ever traded his good friend and frontcourt sidekick Jeff Green. That perceived problem threatened to become a reality on Thursday, when the Thunder dealt Green and Nenad Krstic to Boston in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson.
On Friday, though, Durant alleviated any and all apprehension with one resounding assurance.
"He made the best decision for our team and I stand behind him 100 percent," Durant said of Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
Durant said Presti never consulted him about the deal before it was done, adding he didn't want or need to be informed. Hours before Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline, Durant didn't even think the team would make a deal before. He found out Thursday afternoon, while he and D.J. White were in Green's hotel room when Green received the phone call that sent shock waves throughout the NBA.
Durant deemed the moment "one of the toughest times I had to go through as a player."
"I thought he was joking when he said he got traded," Durant said. "It didn't seem real to me. I just gave him a big hug and told him good luck with his new team."
Durant, meanwhile, remains committed to his, saying he has no hard feelings toward the franchise.
"I started with this team," Durant said. "I said I was going to try to help this team get to a point where we're the last team standing. And because one of my closest friends left, I can't give up on that. I committed to this team. I'm loyal to this team. They were loyal to me. So none of that stuff really matters."
The bond between Durant and Green originated from the two growing up in the Washington, D.C. area. They entered the league together in the 2007 draft, Durant taken with the second overall pick and Green taken by Boston with the fifth overall selection before immediately being traded to the Thunder franchise. Veteran forward Nick Collison is the only player other than Durant and Green to have experienced the trying relocation from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
"We did everything together," Durant said. "Just to have a brother like that leave was tough for me. It was a tough day.
"What people don't understand from the outside looking in is it's much more than basketball here. We build family relationships. And to have somebody from your family just pulled out and go to another team, that's tough."
Processing the impact of the deal and how it might benefit the team going forward initially was tough for the players. First, they had to overcome the sting of the news.
"None of us knew so we were definitely surprised," said Russell Westbrook. "All I can say is we'll see what happens. Hopefully it's for the better."
Whether it was Durant or Westbrook or Thunder coach Scott Brooks doing the talking, one word was consistently tossed out in describing what Perkins will bring " toughness.
"Just from watching Perk play these four years I've been in the league, he's been a tough-nosed guy," Durant said. "He should add another dimension to our team."
Said Brooks: "He's not going to take anything from players on the court."
Perkins is out for at least a week with a left knee sprain. And when he returns, the challenge will be to get him, Robinson and Nazr Mohammed, who was acquired in a separate deal that sent White and Mo Peterson to Charlotte, acclimated. How long that might take was anyone's guess Friday.
"We don't have too much time," Westbrook said. "We got 26 games left. We got to get everybody on the same page and make sure guys coming in are on the same page we were already on."
This much we do know. The departed will be missed.
"Not seeing them every day is going to be tough for me," Durant said. "But I've got to move on. I'm happy with the new additions we have. I think we're going to move forward."