Thunder star Kevin Durant is a very popular man this summer, and not just in Oklahoma City. The seven-time All-Star and 2012 NBA MVP is the free agent this offseason and the 27-year-old has no shortage of suitors.
Here’s what’s being said about Durant, the teams vying for his services and his potential new home:
On Durant coming to the Warriors: “If Durant, 27, decides to part ways with the Thunder, an organization for which he has played all nine seasons, the Warriors can offer an opportunity for him to win a championship for the first time alongside All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals opened the door to Durant joining a team that looked to him to get back onto the championship stage. A 6-foot-9 forward who thrives in a free-flowing offense and from beyond the arc, Durant presents a matchup nightmare for any opponent, and the Warriors have long hoped for the opportunity to sign him. To realize this vision, the Warriors appear to be willing to break up a team that won a record-setting 73 games and came one win away from a second straight championship.”
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On Durant coming to the Miami Heat: “On Friday night, news broke that Miami landed one of the six coveted meetings with Durant, the biggest free-agent prize since 2010. For years and years and years, Pat Riley simply wanted to get in the room with someone like that – bring the rings, bring the charm, bring the swagger, let the reputation do the rest. Maybe he won’t need to hustle off his deck screaming, “KEVIN! KEVIN!” this time. But he’s definitely staring out at the ocean again. We gaze out to the water and see water. Pat Riley sees titles. I wouldn’t count out Miami for Kevin Durant.”
In an interview with SiriusXM earlier this week: “Obviously he’s a player who will improve any franchise tenfold, so I’m going to try to be in his ear saying, ‘We would love to have him in our organization.’ ... He would make everybody better, obviously. I think he’s got great character. But I’m also going to give him space. I know he’s a very smart man, and he’ll make the right, educated decision. But it would be an honor to play with him. I couldn’t imagine the shooting we could have with him on our team. It would be very deadly, to say the least.”
“Here’s the thing that’s interesting about Golden State – their players have been recruiting Kevin Durant all year. And it goes back to early in the season when the Thunder were struggling. And I don’t know if Golden State saw them as a peer; I don’t know that they saw them as a threat ... Kevin Durant, just like he was hearing from guys in Boston, Washington, different places – he was hearing from guys on the Warriors about, ‘Hey, you can come help take the pressure off of Steph Curry. We need you.’ This is when they were running off win after win after win.”
“If Durant wants to be the difference between almost-winning and holding that trophy in a parade, he has it with the Warriors, because they did not win Game 7, specifically because they lost to LeBron James, potentially Durant’s only peer in talent and size. ... The Warriors’ coaching staff and style seem to fit Durant’s game and his personality – Steve Kerr’s free-flowing, movement offense is different than Durant standing to the side and watching Russell Westbrook dribble out the shot-clock 25-30 times a game. Durant might love Westbrook as a teammate, but he would know if he joins Curry and Thompson, if he passes the ball early in the clock, he usually would get it back.”
On Durant going to the Hawks: “(The Hawks) have been working to try to persuade Durant and his representatives to have a face-to-face recruiting meeting after free agency starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, even though their chances appear dim.”
On Durant remaining in Oklahoma City: “The prospect of Durant returning on a two-year deal (with a player option in the second) to the only franchise he has ever known remains as likely now as it did on the night his latest season ended in that Western Conference Finals Game 7 loss at Oracle Arena.”
On Durant not looking to accept a short-term deal with the Thunder: “He is not the kind of guy who wants to fiddle around in free agency and sort of play the system that way. That is not his personality. He likes stability and it is kind of a gamble to be taking a short contract and then trying to come back and do it all over again in a year. That’s the other thing. He is not someone who wants to go through this twice, I really don’t think. It’s no sure thing.”
On Durant coming home to Washington: “Durant isn’t bound for Washington, friends say, because … it’s Washington, it’s home, and, like so many athletes, Durant isn’t all that keen on returning to play in the city in which he grew up. Friends, family – some real, some claiming to be – all come out of the woodwork in those situations, and Durant, who has tightened his inner circle considerably in recent years, isn’t interested in dealing with them. His lone trip to D.C. this season was stressful, league sources told The Vertical, reinforcing to friends that wherever Durant signs next summer, Washington won’t be it.”
On playing with the pal Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks: “They obviously have a good team now with D-Rose, Melo and Porzingis. Like I said, I am going to talk to my team and we will figure things out, but right now, it is kind of hard to say.”
Compiled by Stu Rosenberg