Kevin Durant Feels Blessed by Five-Year Contract Extension
ORLANDO, Fla. -- It might have been the easiest negotiation in NBA history.
Oklahoma City executives showed up at Kevin Durant's home at 11:01 p.m. CT June 30 (12:01 a.m. ET July 1), and offered the star forward a maximum deal. He accepted it on the spot.
"It was a pretty easy contract,'' Durant said in an interview Wednesday with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League, shortly after he had announced on Twitter that he had agreed to sign a five-year contract extension. "They came over at 11:01 and they offered me the deal, and it wasn't something that I can turn down. ... I'm blessed to get maximum money. That's all you can ask for.''
Durant, whose extension begins in 2011-12 and takes him through 2015-16, could have asked for the ability to opt out of his deal in the fifth season. But he said that didn't interest him.
"This is where I'm committed,'' Durant said. "This is where I want to be. I'm a loyal person. I'm happy.''
Durant said he would have signed a 10-year contract if they still had those in the NBA.
"I wanted to be locked down as long as possible,'' he said. "Five years is the maximum so I feel good about it.''
Durant officially can sign Thursday. He's not sure exactly when the signing will happen but he said all details have been ironed out. While Durant immediately agreed to the extension, he said he held off on announcing it on Twitter because there were still some minor points to iron out.
"I had to keep it under wraps,'' he said. "There were just some small things.''
Thunder officials could have waited until Durant became a restricted free agent next summer and possibly could have saved some money on a maximum deal. A new collective bargaining agreement next summer might further limit NBA salaries.
But Thunder officials wanted to take no chances. And Durant had first told FanHouse last March he wanted to sign his extension as soon as he possibly could.
"I wasn't worried about that,'' Durant said Wednesday about the possibility of a new collective bargaining agreement curtailing his earnings if he didn't sign this summer. "I just wanted to get it done as soon as possible.''
Durant is in Orlando this week to cheer on the Thunder in the summer league. His agreeing to sign was welcome news to his teammates.
"He's our leader,'' said guard James Harden. "He's our leading scorer. It's great to have him with this organization. It's an ongoing process, and it's progressing.''
Earlier Wednesday, Boston coach Doc Rivers had plenty to say about Durant, the reigning NBA scoring champion.
"(When he next becomes a free agent), the whole league will be waiting for him,'' Rivers said. "I'm serious. He's in the same league as the guys who are free agents now. In (six) years he might be the best. He has the chance to be the best player in the league some day.''
Rivers likes how Durant is such a team player.
"The thing I love about him is he's been a great teammate, a young star as a great teammate,'' said Rivers, an NBA guard from 1983-96. "He's been refreshing to see. ... I don't know if he's a throwback. I don't know if we were that good (of) people either. He's just a refreshing kid. I love him. I just like who he is.''
About going to the Orlando summer league, Durant said, "I just want to be here to support my teammates.''
He's been with the team since the first game Monday and expects to be here through Oklahoma City's final game Friday.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson