Durant focused more on playoffs than next contract
If Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma City, it won’t be because he
doesn’t like it there.
The Thunder’s first-time All-Star forward already has gone on
record as saying he thinks his team has a chance to win a
championship if they stay together. Of course, that will hinge on
whether Durant stays or bolts for a maximum contract offer
“That’s the last thing I’m thinking about right now,” Durant
said before Friday night’s game against the Clippers. “It’s too
early to talk about that. If I worry about that, it will take the
focus off the team. I just want to continue to get better. The guys
here have faith that I’ll be here for as long as possible.”
Durant has spent the past week playing leapfrog with LeBron
James for the NBA scoring lead. The Thunder have never had a
scoring champion in the franchise’s 43-year history. But that isn’t
what motivates him.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with it,” the three-year
veteran said. “I mean, coming into this league, I didn’t say, ‘I
want to win the scoring title to get more money.’ I just want to be
“If winning a scoring title brings a championship, then I’ll be
happy to do it. But I don’t worry about how much money I’m going to
get. I just want to focus on my team trying try to get better. Once
that time comes, we’ll talk about it. That’s the last thing I’m
worrying about when I’m thinking about playing basketball.”
Durant who becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of
2011, has made it clear that if the Thunder give him a maximum
contract offer – somewhere in the vicinity of five years and $80
million perhaps – then he’ll sign it. But negotiations with general
manager Sam Presti can’t begin until July 1.
“I haven’t talked to Sam or anybody about that. It would be
taking away from our team. That’s not how we are here,” Durant
said. “The offseason is when you talk about things like
Durant’s signature on the dotted line would certainly make life
easier for coach Scott Brooks.
“That’s going to be a decision down the road, and at the
appropriate time, he and Sam will talk about that,” Brooks said.
“Kevin is a great teammate. He brings effort every night, and he
does a great job of challenging himself and challenging his team.
He’s helping our team get better, and he’s focused on team
Durant entered Friday needing one more 30-point game to increase
his league-leading total to 35, which would tie the single-season
franchise mark Spencer Haywood set with the 1972-73 Seattle
“I’ve been working hard and it’s starting to pay off,” Durant
said. “But I’ve got a long way to go to get where I want to be as
a player. And if I continue to work hard and keep getting better
and better and become a student of the game, then the sky’s the
limit for myself and my team.”