Kevin Durant is set to become a free agent in the summer of 2016, but while nothing will be officially decided until then, the reigning MVP said he wishes to spend the rest of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I love it here man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don’t really think about anywhere else,” Durant said in an interview with Revolt TV this week (via Michael Scotto of The Associated Press). “I hear it all the time, don’t get me wrong, and once you hear it you’re kind of like...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.”
The practice of superstars changing teams has become more the norm than the exception to the rule in recent years, highlighted by LeBron James moving from Cleveland to Miami and back again in the past half decade.
But Durant said he wants to be like a different crop of NBA stars. He wants to become a legend for the Thunder franchise.
“Kobe (Bryant), Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type. That’s awesome,” Durant said.”But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feels about you after a while, but I love it here and I would love to get my jersey retired here.”
Eric Freeman of Yahoo Sports writes Durant saying such things could be nothing but positive for the possibility of a future with the Thunder: "These words should serve as a positive sign for Thunder fans, because it is clear that Durant looks at his experience with the franchise as a good one and would like to keep the relationship going past his retirement. A player would not say such things if he had one foot out the door."
Durant has been shut down for the rest of the season after undergoing bone graft surgery Tuesday, which means the hopes for a title this season have taken a significant hit.
If he does stay for the long term, Oklahoma City becomes a favorite in the highly competitive Western Conference, especially if fellow superstar Russell Westbrook decides to stay as well.