Chris Tomasson has a great piece at FanHouse on Kevin Durant and his impending contract extension. Tomasson got Durant to really open up about it, even putting him on the spot if the Thunder did offer a max deal.
“Yeah, that’s what I want to do,” Durant said about signing an extension when he first is eligible, which would be after negotiations can start July 1 and until Oct. 31. “I want to be here. I want to be part of this organization.”
If the Thunder this summer offers Durant a maximum contract extension, which would be in the neighborhood of $80 million over five years, Durant will reach quickly for a pen.
“If they did offer that, that would be something that nobody could turn down,” Durant said. “I would be blessed and privileged and honored. But, at the same time, I’ve got to keep working. … It would be good (to sign this summer). To know that I can be with a team for a couple (more) years will be cool.”
When asked if he would be “offended” if Oklahoma City didn’t offer a max contract on July 1, Durant answered, “Not really.” He then said, “Of course, I know I’ll be back the year after that, and you never know what will happen that next summer.” The first part sounds great. The last part sounds a little scary.
KD stuck to what makes him so darn likable, saying, “I didn’t get in the game for just the money. I want to be somewhere where I’m comfortable, where I have a chance to win a championship, and I think that will be here.” And KD means that. He turned down $10 million more from Adidas to sign with Nike because he’d always worn Nike’s and he felt like they fit his feet better. He drives a conversion van, not a super-fast fancy car, because it’s comfortable. He thinks $15 is too much to pay to rent a movie. When he says money isn’t everything, I genuinely believe him. He’s always been about basketball first, other crap second and that’s one of the reasons I admire him so much.
I don’t know what OKC’s actual financial situation is. Some believe the Tyson Chandler deal was rescinded mainly because of money. Some fear the Thunder’s holding onto their cap space because they can’t afford to spend. Some worry that the franchise may choose to wait on Durant’s extension and see the new CBA in an effort to maybe save a couple million bucks, because it needs to. But honestly, if the Thunder has to pinch pennies that much and can’t afford to lock up a player long-term the caliber of KD as soon as possible, then frankly, we shouldn’t have a team here. I know that’s strong and some people may run with that line and say stupid things, but it’s true.
Kevin Durant is worth every single dime, nickel and penny. He said if he gets the deal, he will stay. Cut and dry. So if Oklahoma City has to cut corners and hold back its pocket book for a year on KD’s extension at the risk of ticking him off, then forget about this whole thing. We’ll never enjoy a truly successful franchise here if that’s the terms we’re operating under. We can live with signing only mid-level free agents. We can live with managing the budget and spending smart. But we can’t live with not paying our superstars that we’re supposedly building a long-term future around.
Sam Presti has made brilliant moves in his tenure as the Thunder’s general manager. Some have been tough choices that went against the grain. Drafting Russell Westbrook over Brook Lopez. Taking James Harden instead of Ricky Rubio. But drafting Kevin Durant No. 2 behind Greg Oden was a no-brainer move for Presti. And offering him a max deal when the clock strikes midnight July 1 should be equally as easy.