Kevin Durant will become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. He’ll have no shortage of suitors, including the incumbent Thunder and his hometown Wizards.
He’s also facing championship expectations in Oklahoma City. If everyone is healthy, the Thunder are good enough to win it all.
How does Durant avoid looking ahead to next summer? It’s apparently not a problem.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:
The best way to keep players focused on the season – whether the potential distraction is free agency or anything else – is to win. The Thunder, with Durant and an incredibly intense Russell Westbrook, should win.
Likewise, winning this season is the best thing Oklahoma City can do to convince Durant to re-sign. Obviously, Durant’s approach will influence the Thunder’s success. If he’s too consumed with 2016, that could hurt his production on the court – which could create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Durant plays below his capabilities, Oklahoma City will lose more. If Oklahoma City loses more, Durant is more likely to leave.
That’s why a star teammate like Westbrook can have such a great indirect impact – or, in this case, direct impact.