Kevin Durant: Hard to talk to Russell Westbrook about free agency, time to be selfish

10 Comments

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have clearly grown close, spending their entire careers and formative NBA years with the Thunder.

How much will Durant lean on Westbrook during free agency?

Durant:

It’s kind of hard to talk to one of my teammates. Obviously, we’ve been through a lot. We know each other very, very well. But it’s one of these things where I just, I’ve just got to hear from me and hear what I want and talk to myself on what I need and how I can make this thing work for myself and just try to be selfish a bit.

Obviously, I want to ask for advice. But also, I want to make the decision that’s best for me. I’m sure at some point, me and Russell will sit down and talk.

But he’s put no pressure on me. He’s been just great in this whole thing and just being my friend, and I think that’s one thing I needed throughout the whole year, throughout this whole process, is just people to be my friend and worry about me as a person.

Westbrook will be a free agent in 2017, and that could influence Durant. But even if Westbrook is leaning one way now, nothing he says is binding. I don’t think he’d intentionally mislead Durant, but so much can change in a year.

This is one reason Durant signing a 1+1 makes so much sense. In addition to the financial advantages, it would allow Durant to spend another season on a championship contender without getting stuck in Oklahoma City without Westbrook. If Westbrook leaves in 2017, Durant could, too. Or they could stay together. Or Durant could stay on his own, but that’d at least be his choice at the time.

First, Durant must make a decision this summer. What will he value?

Durant:

Just being around great people, being in a great basketball environment – that’s the two most important things for me. That’s all I really care about – who I’m going to be doing life with every single day, who I’m going to be playing basketball with every day.

Durant didn’t mention salary – a Thunder advantage – but talking about money is gauche. The higher raises Oklahoma City can offer might factor, even if he won’t say so publicly.

As for the rest – the people and the basketball environment – go ahead and assume your favorite team offers the best combination.