This summer, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will both try to make a pitch to free agent Kevin Durant. While there’s a long line of teams that want to make that pitch, people in Durant’s camp have promoted the idea of coming to New York to him, sources have told NBC Sports.
That shouldn’t be a shock. Neither should the fact that while in New York Durant has dodged the question of his free agency this summer as expertly as he knocks down an elbow jumper over a shorter defender.
At shootaround Tuesday, as the Thunder prepared to face the Knicks, Durant said this about his free agency, as reported by Royce Young of ESPN.
“I’m just really, to be honest with you, I haven’t sat down and thought about it. The season moves along so quickly. And every time I get alone, it’s either on the plane or in the city thinking about the game the next day. So, of course I can’t totally just say I haven’t thought about it at all. But I haven’t sat down and really put a lot of time into what I’m looking for. Just focusing on my teammates, focusing on the season and how I can be better as a player, as a leader. Everything else comes after that and it comes after the season.”
On playing in a small market like Oklahoma City as opposed to the big platform of New York:
“It’s not different. There’s so many games on TV nowadays. Like you said, social media gives the game and different players exposure no matter where you are. It really doesn’t matter. To be honest, it’s never been about that for me. It’s been about the game and being a basketball player first.”
So why is he often linked to New York?
“They link everybody with New York City. One of the greatest cities in the world. They link everybody with this city. So, it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great city. It’s a great place to visit, great place to live, I’m sure. But they link everybody, it’s not just me.”
Durant said nothing. As you had to expect for someone as polished dealing with the media like him.
A number of teams will try to pitch Durant this summer — the Knicks, Nets, Lakers, Heat, Wizards and on down the line — but the smart money is still on the Thunder. Durant is in his prime; he needs to be in the best position to win a title, and even though the Thunder are in the deep West where is he going to find better running mates than Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka? He is closer to a title in OKC than even if he went to the softer East.
But predicting what a free agent may do six months out can be a fool’s errand. There are a lot of variables, a lot of things that will happen between now and July 1 which will influence Durant’s decision.