Kevin Durant has done this before.
He’s been the guy at the center of the free agency speculation storm. A lot of players are unprepared for the ferocity of that story — they think the NBA is about the games, that the fans care more about those outcomes than free agency. That’s simply not true. Television viewership, website traffic, all of it spikes with free agency, trades, and the rumors of trades. Fans care more about rosters and being fantasy GMs than who runs the best dribble handoff action or who is playing good defense. It’s the reality of today’s NBA coverage.
Kevin Durant is ready for it this time. Already speculation about what he will do as a free agent next summer is spiking — especially after a weekend spent in New York with the Warriors. Because KD has been linked to the Knicks. Even though he’s never said anything about that.
Durant is dealing with the free agency circus much better this time, he told Michael Lee of The Athletic.
“You seen the coverage around LeBron’s free agency and I knew that that type of attention would come and playing in a small market where nobody [outside of Oklahoma City] really came to see us, unless it was a huge game, it’s a lot to take in,” Durant said. “I feel like I learned from that situation. Back then, I didn’t let it bleed onto the basketball court. I just didn’t know what was coming.
“Now I have a good idea of what’s coming from fans, from media, just people who love free agency. That’s the thing now, that’s a part of the game. People love just that side…
“But knowing I can do pretty much anything on the basketball court, is making the game more fun. Making me more relaxed as a person, too. I feel like my game is to a point where I can play on any court, I can play with any player. I feel like I can do anything on the basketball court. I’m just super secure with that because I’m a hooper before all of this. I’m really just secure with my game. More secure than I’ve ever been. It’s making my life better to be honest. I just love playing ball more than ever right now.”
Durant is having fun this time around, letting more of his personality out, worrying less about what people say and think (although that certainly still comes into play at times). The Warriors are an organization that tries to remember this is a game and to have fun with it, savor it, take your job seriously but remember it’s not life or death. Durant seems to have fully bought into that.
Which makes him a better player — makes the Warriors better. And he’ll worry about what’s next after the Warriors season ends. Likely in June again.