Kevin Durant Comments on Rumored 'Finals or Bust' Ultimatum

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2016

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in New Orleans. The Pelicans won 123-119. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant downplayed speculation he's planning to leave the franchise as a free agent this summer unless OKC reaches the NBA Finals this season.

Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman passed along the forward's dismissive response Tuesday when asked about the rumors concerning his future:

The comments come one day after New Orleans Pelicans veteran broadcaster Joel Meyers discussed the Durant situation with SiriusXM NBA Radio, as relayed by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:

If they don't, I'm told if they don't at least get to the NBA Finals, Durant's gone. Simple as that. And to the point where he may want his own team. So everybody's talking about Golden State. There may be other teams coming into the equation for Kevin Durant. He's the principle. He's going to be the guy. So from what I've been told, it may not be Golden State after all.

Meyers added: "As much as we all love Kevin Durant with Russell Westbrook, watch it now, because there's a real strong possibility it's their last season together in OKC."

Durant is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he's been heavily linked to the dominant Golden State Warriors, though there would be no shortage of interest elsewhere. In February, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, citing league sources, called Golden State the "significant front-runners" if Durant leaves Oklahoma City.

Placing an ultimatum on the Thunder organization seems a bit extreme in a campaign where the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have been on a completely different level than anybody else. In turn, it's no surprise Durant was quick to push aside that type of talk, at least publicly.

Oklahoma City cannot be completely counted out, though. It currently sits third in the Western Conference with a 43-20 record. Durant leads the team in scoring at 28.1 points per game and creates a dynamic tandem with Russell Westbrook that could give the Warriors or Spurs some trouble in the postseason.

A lot of focus will continue to surround his future plans, however. Hoops Hype listed him as the top potential free agent in a group that could also include LeBron James, Andre Drummond and DeMar DeRozan, which means he's going to get a massive deal somewhere.

Even if there's no ultimatum about how far the Thunder must advance, there's no doubt Durant will be taking a hard look at his current situation the rest of the way before potentially hitting the open market.