OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant watch will make for a long two years

by Berry Tramel Published: July 31, 2014


photo -  MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on Jan. 29, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright NBAE 2014 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on Jan. 29, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright NBAE 2014 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Durant’s contract expires soon, and the organization with which he’s been for what seems like forever is under siege. Every competitor wants Durant’s services, most notably an upstart in his youthful stomping grounds.

We’re talking about Nike, of course, which has produced seven versions of Durant’s signature shoe, but Durant’s Swoosh contract runs out this week, and Maryland-based Under Armour plans to come after Durant with gusto.

And you think the Thunder walks softly around Durant? Well, the answer is yes. The Thunder and everyone else from Balko to Broken Bow.

Durant’s Thunder contract expires in summer 2016. The Durant Watch began in earnest after this season, and after Durant’s comments in Las Vegas this week, the gluteus maximus of every Thunder fan and brass is pricked with pins by the number and needles by the score.

Durant said yeah, it’s great that LeBron went home to Cleveland. Said yeah, signing a five-year deal with the Thunder a few years back was the product of a simple mind. Said yeah, growing up in suburban D.C. and watching the old Bullets and Georgetown was great and that Greater Washington “is a part of me. It’s in my blood.”

Of course, Durant also said he loves Oklahoma City and won’t make any decision based on what anyone else does, but just the admission from Durant that anything could happen was unsettling to ThunderLand, which never has known a day without the Durantula.

It’s going to be a long two years. In fact, the only salvation is that in the next 700 days, about 200 of them will be filled by a game day, Durant playing ball with the OKC logo. That can and has made many an Oklahoman forget their troubles.

The truth is, some day in the future, the Thunder will produce a roster without “35 Kevin Durant.” And that will be a sad occasion, whether it’s in summer 2016 or summer 2028. Who knows which? One guess is as good as the next. For every reason you can list for Durant to leave, you can counter with a reason or three for him to stay. By July after next, he might be a Wizard, or a Knickerbocker, or a Bull, or a Laker. Or he might be like Tim Duncan and become Old Man Riverwalk North.

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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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