When Kevin Durant makes his free-agency decision this summer, it'll be on his own accord and not funneled through a media channel.
"They need me," Durant said of the media, per NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock. "If I wasn't a free agent, none of this s--t would go on, right? None of this speculation about who I am, what's wrong with my mental, why I'm miserable, why I ain't happy with life. Nothing."
Durant's relationship with media has been increasingly contentious throughout the 2018-19 season, particularly in regard to his looming free agency. The reigning two-time Finals MVP has expressed his frustration of the coverage on a number of occasions, even having a bit of a blow-up after the New York Knicks freed up two max contract spots by trading Kristaps Porzingis.
"I never had this before," Durant said. "This is a totally new experience. I never had so many people that come to me and ask about where I should play. And there's nothing wrong with it. But don't get mad when I talk about it. Don't get mad when you're speculating, when you're in your own head about something that I had said nothing about."
Durant announced he would be signing with the Warriors in a first-person essay for The Players' Tribune. His impending free agency this summer has even caused issues in the Warriors locker room, most notably during an early-season dust-up with Draymond Green.
Durant's own thoughts on the matter seem to vary daily. He's completely balked at answering questions at times while bemoaning that he only wants to focus on basketball. In other moments, like this interview with Murdock, he seems much more understanding of the topic—all while still throwing shade the media's way.
"That's a hot topic," Durant said of his free agency. "But you don't have to talk about it. And then you don't have to get mad when I don't want to talk about it. And then you don't have to get mad when your little brain is roaming around, but you can't find the correct answers. That's bad journalism. That's not doing your job well."
Durant is one of the two or three best players in the world and plays for the two-time defending champions; his free agency is a story, whether anyone likes it or not. The NBA's popularity, and by proxy Durant's, has expanded by turning the sport into a 12-month spectacle. Durant leaving Oklahoma City in 2016 is part of the player empowerment trend that has led to the extra attention on this summer.
"My whole thing is, I don't even want the business to get in the way of basketball," Durant said. "So, in the beginning of the season, my whole thing was like, let that s--t ... that s--t has nothing to do with me during the season. That has nothing to do with what we're doing on the court."
The Warriors, despite all the drama, remain overwhelming favorites to win their third straight title and etch their name forever in basketball lore. What Durant does after that is anyone's guess—and rest assured people will keep guessing until Durant lets us know.