In his most extensive public comments about his highly-anticipated free agency, Kevin Durant addressed rampant speculation that he will soon leave Oklahoma City for his native Washington.
Nothing he said couched concerns in Oklahoma City that he won’t someday bolt. Instead, Durant made it unequivocally clear that he will put himself first when choosing which team he will continue his career with when his contract expires at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
“I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Durant told reporters in Las Vegas, where he was practicing with the U.S. Men’s National Team in preparation for next month’s FIBA World Cup. “It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does.”
From the moment LeBron James announced he would return to Cleveland, a 30-minute drive from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, all eyes turned to Durant as the next superstar in line for a feel-good homecoming. Durant grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Seat Pleasant, Md., and the Washington Wizards are openly positioning themselves to make a hard run at Durant in July 2016.
Durant acknowledged the speculation. But while insisting he’s focused on the present, he also refused to rule out anything in the future.
“Look, we going to put it out on tape. It’s been talked about,” Durant said when asked about signing with his hometown Wizards. “Everybody’s asked me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it. So I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff. But I just tell everybody that I’m here in Oklahoma City. I love it here. Who knows what will happen. I never close the door on anything. But I like where I’m at right now. So I can’t answer that question.”
Durant has expressed his happiness with the Thunder and his fondness for Oklahoma City in numerous ways since the franchise relocated here in 2008. He’s repeatedly verbalized it, committed himself contractually with a five-year extension that didn’t contain an early opt-out clause, hosted an insanely popular camp in the area annually and donated his time and money when devastating tornadoes ripped through Moore last spring.
But more and more, Durant sounds intrigued by the idea of free agency.
“It’s great to feel wanted,” Durant told reporters. “Guys taking four or five trips to see teams. You got to see what’s out there if you’re a free agent. We’re playing in a league that’s so powerful. You can impact so many different people. You have to look at all your options.”
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