Billy Donovan: I’m not recruiting Kevin Durant back to Thunder. It’s his choice

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Russell Westbrook said of course he wants Kevin Durant to re-sign with the Thunder – which is why Durant knows he’ll have a hard time talking to Westbrook about free agency. Westbrook is just too close to one side to offer fair advice.

The same is true of Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, and he’s preemptively staying out of it

Donovan:

I have nothing to do with this. This is Kevin’s decision. I don’t think it’s about me posing a pitch.

Kevin’s very bright. He obviously has had incredible impact on this community and this organization. And obviously, the organization, the community love him a great deal as well.

This is about Kevin – and if he needed anything from me, I would be there to talk to him about anything. But this is about what Kevin wants to do, and it’s his decision.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be recruiting him. I don’t look at it, recruiting.

For me, it’s been over 100 games with Kevin. Obviously, for him, in this decision, it’ll be his decision. I’m there in any way he needs, but I think when you’ve been with somebody for basically an entire year – and it was a year ago at this point time when he was coming off his foot injury that we had a chance to spend a lot of time.

So, Kevin will go through this process, and I’m going to respect his wishes of taking his time and evaluating it and making the right decision for himself.

On one hand, this makes sense. What could Donovan – or anyone from the Thunder – say now that wasn’t clear in spending the season with him? Their pitch is Westbrook, 55 wins, a win over the Spurs, pushing the Warriors to seven games, a reasonably young supporting cast locked up and an environment where players can focus on basketball. Durant knows that. He has lived that.

Now, he should explore other options and learn about teams that he hasn’t spent his whole career with.

But if he wants to be courted – and he sort of, though not completely, denied that today – Donovan’s strategy could backfire. The former University of Florida coach knows how this often works. Players want to feel the love as much as, if not more than, they weigh the practical considerations.

I don’t know whether Donovan’s approach is the right one or the wrong. But it’s the one he’s going with.