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Thunder's Kevin Durant remains optimistic with lockout deadline looming

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: June 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm •  Published: June 29, 2011

Durant, a renowned gym rat, said he just wants to play basketball.

“At the end of the day, that's all I want to do,” Durant said. “That's all our team wants to do. That's all our fans want to see is us play basketball. That's what we start playing this game for is just to play.

“I always hear people say, ‘If there's no NFL or NBA, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself.' So hopefully we get things done.”

The looming lockout, however, hasn't put a damper on Durant's excitement with where the Thunder is headed. The Thunder won 55 games last season and will return at least nine members of the 10-man rotation. After losing in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, the Thunder made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing in five games to Dallas.

“I think in the playoffs we grew a lot,” Durant said. “Nobody expected us to be in the conference finals. We accomplished that goal, and it's time for us to move on and try to set bigger goals.

“It's all about keeping this young core together and seeing what we can do with it.”

Durant seemed pleased with the newest member of the core, guard Reggie Jackson, the 24th overall pick out of Boston College. Durant said he doesn't know Jackson and didn't get to see him play this season. But as soon as the Thunder drafted Jackson last Thursday, Durant said he began watching internet highlights and liked what he saw. The two have since had a few conversations via telephone.

“I think he's going to fit right in,” Durant said.