The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant have kicked into high gear after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff run has come to an end, with the Boston Celtics taking the lead in the race behind the efforts of point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Speculation about the future of the All-Star forward lingered throughout his team’s run to the cusp of the NBA Finals, as Durant has been expected to opt out of his contract and test free agency. The Celtics have been rumored to be a suitor, and now Thomas appears to have confirmed the speculation.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Thomas said he is open about his courting of Durant to join him in Boston.
“I just wanted the world to know, that’s who I’m trying to get,” Thomas said.
Thomas added that he’s giving Durant some time to decompress after the Thunder blew a three games to one lead over the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals; but, he plans to make a full-court press on Durant.
“I definitely want to give him some time,” Thomas said. “I know that was a tough series and a long season for him. I wouldn’t want anyone calling me up about the biggest decision of my life right after the season’s over. So I’ll probably give him some time and casually talk to him, and then go all-in.”
Durant had already sparked speculation back in March when he praised the city of Boston, leading many to believe he was considering making the jump to the Eastern Conference.
The NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant have been swirling for several months, with some Western Conference powerhouses reportedly heavy in the running. Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported back in March that league executives were expecting the San Antonio Spurs to make a major run at the star forward. The Spurs already gave Kawhi Leonard a contract extension and signed LaMarcus Aldridge, creating a core that could dominate the conference after the expected retirements of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili — whenever they might be.
Many thought that Durant would be a good fit in San Antonio, where he would not face the pressure he did in his earlier days in Oklahoma City. Durant has noted this year that he feels more effective when he’s not putting pressure on himself, something that hasn’t come about often with the Thunder.
“I think I’m playing a little more free than I used to,” Durant told The Vertical. “I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. I’d think, ‘Maybe I’m not being a good enough leader. Maybe I should change my personality.’ I was always thinking what if I change this, what if I change that, instead of just going out and being me. I’ve just been about playing the game at the level I like playing at and playing with the level of joy I like playing with.”
The Golden State Warriors have also been linked to Kevin Durant, with league sources telling The Vertical that team management has been preparing for years to make a pitch for Durant to join Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
But, for all the NBA rumors surrounding Kevin Durant, many expect that he will end up staying in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are able to offer the biggest contract, and those close to Durant say he is looking for the team that can give him the best chance at winning an NBA title. After the Thunder’s late run that pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink of elimination, there is growing sentiment that Durant sees his own team as the best chance of winning it all.
[Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]