When Kevin Durant switched agents to Jay Z’s Roc Nation, there were some fans trying to suggest this was KD’s first step out of the NBA’s second smallest market, Oklahoma City.
Now he has said again he has no plans to leave.
He is on a tour of Europe to sell some Nikes and while in France he did a Q&A with fans where he was asked directly about his plans to bolt. Royce Young at Daily Thunder found the video of the interview and had Durant’s answer.
“I like where I’m at right now. I enjoy playing for OKC. As of today, I love it there, man. I want to be there. I love the fans, I love my team, I love everything about the city. I don’t have any plans to move.”
First, the facts: Durant is under contract for this season and two more after it. He is on a max deal and is not a free agent until the summer of 2016.
There are two ways to look at this.
First is the version I went with in my headline — he says he has no plans to move. He’s happy. There are plenty of NBA stars who are restless in small and middle sized markets and are looking to bolt at the first chance, but Durant is built differently. He has a personality that works well in the smaller market. If any superstar player could spend his career outside big cities, it could be Durant.
The other way to view it is to blow up his “as of today” comment as a sign he could leave come 2016. If he was frustrated at the cost saving moves of the Thunder had left them without James Harden or Kevin Martin, you could understand that.
The reality here is pretty simple — Durant wants to win. Multiple titles. When he can be a free agent in 2016 he is going to make a decision about OKC based on how the team has done and how it is poised for the future. It will be about how much he trusts the front office of the organization. It’s the same calculation every star player has to make: Kobe Bryant in 2004, LeBron James with the Cavaliers, even Dwight Howard with the Lakers this summer.
Right now, with the team they have in OKC and the opportunities in front of him, it’s hard to picture Durant leaving. But in three seasons things could feel radically different. Three years is an NBA eternity.
I’m sure between now and then Durant will get asked variations of this same question 453,971 times, so we can discuss plenty more over the next few years.