By Randy Renner
The national media have been stirring the pot about Kevin Durant possibly bailing out of Oklahoma City when his contract expires next summer and he becomes one of the most sought after free agents in the NBA.
There's been plenty of talk about Durant maybe wanting to return to his hometown Washington DC area to play for the Wizards. Or maybe he'll go to New York and play for former teammate Derrick Fisher's Knicks, or perhaps Los Angeles to play for the Lakers, or the Heat in Miami or the Mavs in Dallas. Or, well, anywhere, other than Oklahoma City.
Well it turns out KD may not be going anywhere except some really cool places during vacation time.
In a wide ranging interview done recently and just now released on Revolt.TV, Durant leaves no doubt about his feelings for Oklahoma City.
"I love it here, man," Durant told the interviewer. "I love my teammates, I love the city, I don't really think about anywhere else. "I hear it all the time, don't get me wrong, and once you hear it you're kind of like, [looks up as if he's thinking]. But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I'm one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career. Kobe/Tim Duncan/Dirk Nowitzki type of dude. That's awesome. But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feel about you after a whole. But I love it here, and I would love to get my jersey retired here."
I'll admit when I first heard about this very early this morning I wondered if it might be some elaborate and cruel April Fool's joke and a quick check of the Revolt.TV website made my stomach turn a little because there was no mention of the interview on the website's front page.
But a more in-depth search found it and I saw it myself. Durant speaking on a wide range of topics from his $1.7 million downtown Oklahoma City condo. He even gives a tour of his home, which is pretty fascinating.
He credits the love and strength of his family for keeping him “on the right path,” adding that he feels responsible for being an influential force to his fans and the youth.
“I really want to do my justice and give back to the youth by just letting them know the struggles that I went through and still go through to this day,” Durant said. “It’s hard getting to an elite level of anything, but you can do it…if you continue to put the work in every single day and believe in yourself, have confidence in yourself, you can do anything. That’s the main message.”
And back to his future in Oklahoma City, Durant said he believes he and the Thunder have come along at the perfect time for OKC and the rest of the state.
"When you think of Oklahoma City before us, it was the Oklahoma City bombing, natural disasters; if we ever win the championship I feel like we'll be heroes."
Durant also said he appreciates that the City and Thunder fans, "don't take us for granted," and he points out that games in other NBA arenas are often played to less than sellout crowds and less than enthusiastic environments. That's never the case in Oklahoma City where Chesapeake Energy Arena has been soldout for just over 200 straight games.
Who knows how KD will feel next summer when teams from everywhere are coming at him with max contract offers but it's pretty clear now his bottom line isn't just about cash and even if it was the Thunder can offer him more money and more years on a contract than any other team in the league.
The Thunder can also offer him something else no other team in the NBA can and that's playing 41 regular season games a year in front of fans who've proven over the years that they care and judging by Durant's comments in this most recent interview, that's something that shouldn't be underestimated.