The day is finally here. Kevin Durant can officially sign, Cole Aldrich officially becomes part of the team and OKC plays a very important summer league game against Orlando. Anything else going on? I think that’s pretty much it…
JA Adande on KD’s extension: “Still, I guarantee you no one will look back on this contract in six years and say, “What were they thinking?” That makes sense because there wasn’t any airtime or Twitter characters wasted on wondering “What is Durant thinking?” this summer. We were all distracted, wondering about LeBron’s future whereabouts, when maybe we should have been wondering whether — wherever he ends up — his team could beat the Thunder.”
Rob Mahoney of PBT: “Of course, it’s of slightly more significance that one of the best players in the league will stay with the NBA’s most exciting young core. Everything is going right for the Thunder: Russell Westbrook is evolving, Durant somehow continues to improve, Sam Presti is making the right moves to build the roster patiently, and OKC is taking the league by storm. This is team construction at its finest, and so, so much of it has to do with the phenomenal success of Kevin Durant. At just 21, KD has already joined the league’s elite, and doesn’t show any sign of halting his ascension.”
The salary cap came in about $2 million more than expected, at about $58M. Ken Berger reported last season’s revenues were the high in league history. As Darnell Mayberry points out, a max deal for this season would give Durant $87.7 million. If the cap rises again next year, Durant will earn even more, closer to $90M.
Andy Kamenetzky of ESPN LA on KD: “I apologize for interrupting your daily dose of LeBron pomp and circumstance, Wade and Bosh joining a stripped down Heat squad, Amare headlining a still-bad Knicks squad, Joe Johnson getting wildly overpaid, Carlos Boozer and David Lee twisting in the wind, Jay-Z and the Russian billionaire, etc… but I thought people might be interested to know Kevin Durant and the Thunder have agreed to a five year contract extension worth approximately $86 million. Remember Kevin Durant? League’s leading scorer. Arguably a top-5 player at the ripe old age of 21? Wing span of about 68 feet and put to good use defending Kobe Bryant during a tough six-game series? Well, until the 2016 season, he’ll remain the centerpiece of a rapidly and (frankly) scarily developing Thunder team.”
Darnell Mayberry answers a few questions on KD’s extension: “Q: What does Durant’s contract do to the Thunder’s payroll for this coming season? A: Nothing. Durant’s new deal will not kick in until the 2011-12 season. Durant still has one more year remaining on his original rookie deal that will pay him $6.053 million this season. The Thunder will remain under the salary cap by more than $7 million even after Cole Aldrich, the No. 11 overall pick, is added to the books.”
Some great quotes from KD on the extension: “I’m a very loyal person. People say that might hurt me sometimes, but I think it’s a great attribute that I have. By them offering me the max, it shows me that they’re loyal to me as well. So I was ready just ready to sign right then and there, opt out or not, and start moving forward … We’re building something great here, and I didn’t want anything to jeopardize that. I’m happy I’m a part of this organization, and hopefully everybody sticks together … It was done at 11:02. Point blank. It was done … I’ve been like this forever. I guess people really like that. But I’m just being myself. I’m not faking it. I’m not here at summer league because I want everybody to think I’m a good person. I didn’t put it on Twitter because I want everybody to think that. That’s just how I am, and people like it I guess.”
I wrote something at CBS Sports yesterday on how KD and LeBron are just different. Read if you like.
Mark Haubs of The Painted Area: “Look at the cities being considered by the major free agents this summer. Other than Cleveland, which is in the mix only because it’s LeBron’s hometown, all of the potential destinations are glamorous marquee cities. What a franchise-making stroke of luck for the Thunder that they not only found a transcendent superstar, but also one who appears comfortable to play out his days in Oklahoma. I was going to label it a “Duncanian” stroke of luck, but on further reflection, it’s even more remarkable – guys like Duncan, Stockton and Malone grew up in low-key areas, so small markets seemed like reasonable fits. But for a D.C.-area kid to accept a small, non-cosmopolitan market? Amazing.”