Durant’s looming free agency had been quietly lurking in the background of the NBA news cycle all season — it was the biggest story out there, but with Durant deftly dodging questions there wasn’t much to say other than to say he would make up his mind this summer. Then in the past week, a rash of Durant free agency rumors/stories broke.
Durant’s reaction to all this? Essentially a shrug.
“Now I guess you could say it’s ramped up. That’s a part of it. That’s a part of this process. Everyone has to do their job. Of course, the fans want to know what’s going on, but I can’t control that. I can’t control any of that. Just gotta work hard every single day, focus on what’s in front of me and not worry about what’s gonna happen down the line. All that stuff I can’t control. Like I said, when that time comes we’ll talk about it, but for right now, I’m 100 percent committed and locked in on being the best team and player I can be and helping my team try to get to a championship.”
This is how Durant has answered the questions all along — I’m focused on winning now, will worry about the rest of it later. And the Thunder locker room is about as professional as you can get, they are not going to let this bother them. Are these stories a distraction?
“Nah, nobody talks about it here. We don’t even talk about basketball outside of the court. Free agency chatter, we don’t talk about that stuff. As soon as we walk out this court, it’s friendship and brotherhood. We don’t talk about basketball. It makes it easier when you have a group of guys that’s not always turnt on talking about basketball. Like I said, it’s something that’s out of my control. Guys are going to write stories on what they’re going to write about. I just try to stay locked in on where I am.”
Oklahoma City is a good team — their +8.7 net differential makes them a leading title contender almost any season, except this one there are two teams on a 68-win or better pace this season that are standing out. The Thunder know this, they know they are playing better of late under Billy Donovan, and they know there are still questions to answer.
But right now, none of those questions involve Durant next season.