Kevin Durant could maximize his career earnings by jumping to a big market team such as Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics or New York Knicks. However, the superstar free agent has stated that monetary benefits won’t influence his decision next month.
“I don’t care about commercials, I don’t really care about this s***, I just want to hoop. But this comes with it and I got all this being in Oklahoma City. So all that stuff doesn’t really matter to me. 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 told ESPN.com in an interview on Monday.
Will Nike influence his decision?
Durant, one of the biggest global brands in sports, signed a $300 million deal with Nike in 2014. In recent weeks, the likes of Bill Simmons have speculated that Nike and other commercial partners are salivating at the possibility of Durant jumping ship to Los Angeles.
“Right now, I’ve got a lot of stuff to do with Nike, so I’m really just trying to lock in on this and really kick these things off real nice. But at the same time, man, just knowing what’s coming, I’m just trying to be prepared for it. Like I said, lock in with my guys and really come up with a plan on how we’re going to move forward. Just taking a day at a time with it,” Durant said at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in downtown Austin, Texas, a place he frequented as a freshman at the University of Texas.
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According to ESPN’s Mark Stein, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are the only two teams with a legitimate shot to pry Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder. And Durant acknowledged that his decision will be made strictly “for basketball reasons”.
Kevin Durant: ‘It’s a basketball decision’
“I’m worried about basketball (while making a decision). That’s what it is for me. It’s a basketball decision. Just who I’m going to be playing with and the people I’m going to be around every single day, that’s what it’s all about for me,” the former league MVP said.
“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,” added Durant.
At exactly 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, teams can begin meeting with Kevin Durant. According to league sources, the unrestricted free agent will grant meetings to Lakers, Knicks, Rockets, Celtics, Warriors, Miami Heat and Spurs, at the least. Or will he just shock the world and re-sign with Thunder ahead of time?