Kevin Durant denies report he’ll leave Thunder if they don’t reach NBA Finals

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

When Warriors speculation was running rampant, Kevin Durant didn’t want to talk about free agency.

A recent Thunder-Pelicans game hasn’t changed his mind.

Not so for everyone, though.

Pelicans broadcaster Joel Meyers on SiriusXM NBA Radio:

I’m told if they don’t at least get to the NBA Finals, Durant’s gone. Simple as that.

And to the point where he may want his own team. So, everybody is talking about Golden State. There may be other teams coming into the equation for Kevin Durant.

He’s the principle. He’s going to be the priority. He’s going to be the guy. So from what I’ve been told, it may not be Golden State after all.

But from the calls I took – and some of the people I talked to over the weekend being in the building, in the gym – it’s not such a deadlock.

Royce Young of ESPN:

A Finals-or-bust decree wouldn’t make much sense for Durant for both the reasons he said and because it’s too limited of a factor on which to base a much bigger decision. If Durant believes Oklahoma City is the best place for him – everything considered – he should re-sign. If not, he should leave.

Whether the Thunder upset the Warriors and Spurs shouldn’t dictate the entire decision.

What if Oklahoma City wins only because Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard get hurt? That should cause Durant to stay with the Thunder?

What if the Thunder outplay Golden State until Russell Westbrook gets hurt? That should cause Durant to leave?

It’s important for Oklahoma City to send Durant into free agency with a positive taste in his mouth, and the playoffs are their last big chance to do so. Making the Finals would certainly bolster the Thunder’s position, especially if they win a title.

But I didn’t buy a Finals-or-else edict before Durant’s denial. HIs statement makes me even more certain.