San Antonio Spurs News

Kevin Durant Has New Comments About His Free Agency

May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan (left) instructs forward Kevin Durant (35) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Thunder 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan (left) instructs forward Kevin Durant (35) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Thunder 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Kevin Durant is approaching free agency in a very thoughtful, serious way. He knows that this is one of the biggest decisions he has ever had to make, but it sounds like he’ll introspectively come to the right decision for him. It could very well be choosing to take his talents to San Antonio.

Durant’s new comments about his impending free agency imply that he really prioritizes not so much location, but the people who he will be playing alongside.

“You tend to hear about the market and the opportunities you can get off the basketball court, but I’m blessed, man, to be making what I make as a basketball player,” Durant said.

Durant doesn’t seem to be meticulously comparing each situation based on money. He acknowledges that he has made a great deal of money playing in a small market like Oklahoma City, so market size isn’t a big concern with him.

“It’s all about who I’m gonna play with, what type of people I’m going to be around every single day and I’ll go from there,” Durant added.

Judging from his comments, numerous things jump out to me. The first being that the way he is building up the different factors regarding how he’ll make his decision tends to hint that he’s very prepared to leave Oklahoma City.

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If he was truly content in his current situation, he wouldn’t be giving such thoughtful analysis to what he values. Clearly he thinks that the grass may be greener on the other side of the hill, and he’s beginning to romanticize the ideal environment for himself.

Another important takeaway is his views on money. Oklahoma City can offer him the highest salary of any team, but he acknowledges that endorsement opportunities come his way regardless of where he’s playing.

He also hints that there isn’t much of a difference in terms of making something like $25 million as opposed to something around $30 million. He seems satisfied with the level of money that he has been able to accumulate through playing basketball.

An attitude like this nullifies the advantage Oklahoma City has over other teams by being able to offer him a bigger contract, because a few extra million dollars may not have the sway over a guy like Durant compared to another player.

Durant emphasizes teammates and coaches as being paramount details in his decision. Although he has previously stated the admiration he has for Russell Westbrook, his mannerisms and outbursts with directed towards him on the sideline indicate that he harbors a lot of frustration towards the talented but overly-assertive point guard.

Maybe Durant doesn’t want to play with a guy who is often accused of erratic decision making with regards to his habits on the court. Ball hogging is a subjective term, but perhaps Westbrook is too bold with some of his shooting antics.

San Antonio has long been distinguished as a model franchise. Players always enjoy being mentored by Gregg Popovich, and the culture of Spurs basketball is rooted in teamwork and collective prosperity.

Durant seems like a guy who would be willing to sacrifice some money for peace of mind. He isn’t the type to meticulously weigh options based on financial gain, as he has reached the plateau of monetary comfort that he can provide for himself and his family through basketball.

Durant realizes that he is still going to be rich regardless of where he plays. With that type of security, the influence of the money that each team can offer decreases in coercion ability.

His comments are very good news in terms of what they reveal about the Spurs’ chances of acquiring Durant. The Spurs will likely have cap space around $15-18 million, and Durant seems more than okay with leaving money on the table in Oklahoma City for a pleasant basketball situation like San Antonio.

Playing with talented and supportive teammates like Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Tony Parker is an intriguing opportunity for any player.

Popovich is one of the best coaches in league history, and San Antonio has had a prolonged run of success due to the talented players they acquire combined with their incredible team chemistry that is always fostered through Popovich’s leadership.

Next: FanSided NBA Mock Draft First Round 2016

It can be fairly concluded from Durant’s comments that playing in San Antonio is a perfect opportunity for him, and he seems distinctly open to it.

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