Kevin Durant Agrees to Five-Year Extension With Thunder
Yet somewhere in Orlando, where he's watching his team's summer league team, the game's fastest-rising star reached for his phone, or his computer, or whichever his preferred mode of using the social media platform known as Twitter. And without cameras to capture the moment or reporters on hand to chronicle his decision, Kevin Durant had this to say.
"Exstension for 5 more years wit the #thunder....God Is Great, me and my family came a long way...I love yall man forreal, this a blessing!"
It didn't matter that he forgot to use spell-check. In fact, that made it more endearing, revealing the absence of handlers and public relations "experts" around the 21-year-old. In quietly announcing that he agreed to a five-year extension worth approximately $85 million, Durant had unknowingly provided a much-needed dose of humility in these egotistical times.
He did it in his dealings with the Thunder, too, rewarding them for rewarding him by agreeing to have all five years of his contract guaranteed. Extensions such as these typically have the final year as a player option, but Durant's agent, Aaron Goodwin, said he chose against that as a sign of appreciation for Oklahoma City's dedication.
The Thunder could have waited until next summer to offer an extension, and would have saved approximately $25 million by doing so because it would have come under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"They showed him from the first minute that they could that they were committed to giving him the maximum amount, and that's something that truly they didn't have to do," said Goodwin, who -- coincidentally -- represented James until he was fired by him in 2005. "So Kevin and his family was appreciative, and because of that Kevin wanted to show that commitment and made the (fifth) year a non-issue. Everyone pretty much got a great deal in this."
In truth, it could be argued that Durant's decision will ultimately have more impact on the NBA landscape than that of any of the Big Three. Once the slithery small forward signs his deal Thursday, a Thunder team that already scared the champion Lakers in the first round of the playoffs last season will have its centerpiece locked up through 2015-16.
They have tough decisions to come, to be sure, most notably how to handle future extensions for Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook that will further dictate the team's direction. But Durant -- who had begun discussing this option with Thunder team officials at his Oklahoma City home at 12:01 a.m. July 1 -- was the no-brainer first step.