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No time to panic — but the clock is ticking on the Thunder

by Jenni Carlson Published: June 1, 2014

/articleid/4869886/1/pictures/2710013">Photo - Kevin Durant listens to a question during exit interviews with the media for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the team's practice facility in Oklahoma City, Sunday, June 1, 2014. The Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Kevin Durant listens to a question during exit interviews with the media for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the team's practice facility in Oklahoma City, Sunday, June 1, 2014. The Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“That’s our guy,” Durant said. “I’m riding with him.”

Even though the Thunder superstar is aware that time isn’t standing still for anyone, he looked across the court Saturday night at The Peake and realized that time remains. Leading the Spurs were Tim Duncan, 38; Manu Ginobili, 36; and Tony Parker, 32.

“But they’re still standing, still pushing forward for championships every year,” said Durant, who, like fellow superstar Westbrook, is only 25.

And before you say, “Yeah, but Durant won’t be with the Thunder when he’s that old because he’s out the door once his contract expires”, I wouldn’t jump to that widely assumed conclusion just yet. Did you hear Durant during his MVP acceptance, talking about “our state” and “the grass isn’t always greener”? And what about his postgame comments Saturday, mentioning “our city” a couple times?

None of that assures Durant will re-sign with the Thunder, of course, but before he signed this current contract, he talked about loving OKC, then he made good on that adoration.

“I like what we have, guys that want to be here and play with each other and want to win with each other,” Durant said.

Westbrook said: “We have a lot of guys on this team capable of making things happen. The organization has done a great job of putting us in a great position of winning a championship.”

The truth is, this team is better positioned than any to win the title next season. Its roster. Its salaries. Its contracts. All of that puts it in as good a spot as any team.

The Heat's big three first played together when their average age was 27.5 while the Spurs' was 25. The Thunder's big three will be an average of 25.6 next season -- and has already played 61 playoff games together, the most for three players under the age of 26 in NBA history.

The Thunder can’t stop the clock from ticking, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic either.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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