House Call: Thunder Pay Visit to Durant to Discuss Extension
While the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and friends were being recruited by so many teams at the start of free agency Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder general manager was focused on retaining his star before he ever reaches that point.
A source close to the situation told FanHouse Thunder officials were at the Oklahoma City house of small forward Kevin Durant at 11:01 p.m. local time (12:01 a.m. ET), making their intentions known at the earliest time allowed by league rules that they intend to offer an extension. ESPN.com first reported the visit.
While figures of the deal were not discussed, the Thunder are expected to eventually propose a maximum deal for five years and approximately $85 million. Anything less, and they will be endangering Durant's future with the up-and-coming team. The two sides can't sign a possible deal until July 8 and have until Oct. 31 to do so.
Signing Durant is one of the more obvious moves of this active summer, but there had been some question as to whether Oklahoma City might attempt to save money by waiting to offer an extension after Durant's contract expires next summer. If a new collective bargaining agreement is in place by next summer, the Thunder could have taken the risk of losing Durant in order to save significantly on the new deal.
But Presti, who continues to shine as one of the league's top general managers, indicated early on he wasn't about to insult one of the league's brightest young stars by delaying the discussions.
"The only thing I can tell you is that we're looking forward to having that conversation (with Durant)," Presti told FanHouse in mid-April. "When rules permit, we'll sit down and have a conversation that the organization is looking forward to having."
Meanwhile, Durant has long since made it clear he wants to be with the Thunder for years to come -- especially under the terms of a maximum extension.
"If they did offer that, that would be something that nobody could turn down,'' Durant said in early March. "I would be blessed and privileged and honored. ... It would be good (to sign this summer). To know that I can be with a team for a couple (more) years will be cool.''
After suffering through 20- and 23-win seasons in Durant's first two campaigns, he had an MVP-caliber season in 2009-10 and led the Thunder to a 50-32 record and a six-game loss to the Lakers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. And so long as Presti and the Thunder follow through with a maximum offer in the days to come, Oklahoma City's rise looks primed to continue.