Kevin Durant showed up for his first day of camp at Heritage Hall High sporting a look of exhaustion that accompanied his admitted struggle to remember important dates.
Like the one that comes at the stroke of midnight Friday, when the Oklahoma City Thunder star and his fellow NBA colleagues could suffer a lockout if no deal is reached in the NBA's labor dispute.
In the midst of a hectic summer schedule that has included trips to all corners of the country, Durant said at his kids basketball camp on Wednesday that he forgot the league's current collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of the day Thursday.
“I lost track of time,” said Durant, the Thunder's player union representative.
Durant returned to Oklahoma for his third annual camp fresh off hosting his three-day Nike Skills Academy in Chicago, a camp that is in its second season. Prior to that, Durant traveled to Los Angeles to train. He also has squeezed in trips to the Washington, D.C. area, where he grew up. Following his Oklahoma City camp, Durant will host another kids camp in Austin, Texas.
While Durant has been fulfilling his previously-scheduled obligations, representatives from the NBA and the NBA Players Association have held negotiating meetings in New York. Numerous players have attended the negotiating sessions.
“With me being so wrapped up in this and the other things I had to do this summer, I didn't get a chance to really go to the meetings and sit down and really know how things are going,” Durant said. “I just really hope things go smooth and we're not locked out for as long as people think and we get back to what we're supposed to do.”
Durant said he is optimistic that a deal will get done and the 2011-12 NBA season will begin on time. But after leading the Thunder within three wins of the NBA Finals, Durant said it would be “very disappointing” for Oklahoma City fans to not have NBA basketball.
“They come and support us in everything we do, not just coming to the games,” Durant said. “All the community events we have, they always support us. I see a lot of the Thunder fans at my camp…so it's going to be tough for them not to have basketball. Hopefully we don't go past September with it. Hopefully we have a training camp and we go from there.”