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Thunder forward Kevin Durant faces uncertain future

Posted by Betonline team on 6/3/2016 4:32:57 AM
Thunder forward Kevin Durant faces uncertain future By Keith Allison - Flickr: Kevin Durant, CC BY-SA 2.0

Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant walked out of Oracle Arena for the last time with a stinging loss and an uncertain future.

Advancing to the NBA Finals was within his grasp. His team held a 3-1 lead in its series against the Golden State Warriors. He and Russell Westbrook looked unstoppable and the Warriors showed signs of fatigue and mental breakdowns.

However, the team that won 73 regular season games while defending its NBA title emerged and surged to win the final three games of the series and end the Thunder’s hopes. The Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for their rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Durant goes home as a free agent to sign with whatever team he wants. The Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, hometown Washington Wizards and even the Warriors are all expected to line up and court him.

Chances are Durant will sign a two-year deal with the Thunder with a one-year opt-out clause. He’d become a free agent again when Westbrook’s deal ends and he could maximize his earnings as the salary cap skyrockets.

He wasn’t thinking long term as he spoke to The Vertical.

“What I got, a month? I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve got to decompress. Just reflect. I can’t tell you. I’ll know in the next couple of weeks if I even think about it. But as of today, I really have no thoughts. I have nothing to really think about. Just enjoy, reflect on this season and all we did as a team.”

The Thunder got better as the season progressed and showed they could play small ball and with a larger and more physical lineup. Westbrook continued to light up the scoreboard but did a better job of setting up teammates than during the regular season. And the wrinkles that coach Billy Donovan put in seemed to work. It still wasn’t enough.

“I hate to lose. It sucks,” Durant told the Vertical. “I thought it was our year. But sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way.”

Durant believes he will return to an NBA Finals. He must remain patient and decide on his future. He overcame a lot mentally this season, including an injury that sidelined him and the death of Ingrid Williams, the wife of assistant coach Monty Williams.

“I just think it’s being able to play the game of basketball again, it was taken away from me,” Durant said. “So I just wanted to enjoy every moment. Of course, thoughts (of free agency) creep in. That’s natural. That’s part of this whole situation. That’s natural for those thoughts to creep in because you hear a lot of stuff. But I thought I did a good job of not letting it creep into me being a basketball player and teammate. And I was emotionally, physically invested, 100 percent, every single day. From practice to shoot arounds, to games, to playoff preparation, everything; I was totally invested in it.”

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