After the Thunder's Game 7 loss to the Golden State Warriors Monday night, the question immediately shifted to Kevin Durant's free agency future. The star forward Euro-stepped the question in the press conference, saying that it was too early for him to consider free agency (which is nonsense, he's clearly been considering it for months; he's human) and giving a non-answer.
He said the same to USA Today's Sam Amick, but when he was asked to reflect on this incredible postseason run that was less than six minutes away in Game 6 from the Thunder advancing to their second NBA Finals, Durant's answer seems telling.
"We all grew up," Durant said. "I think more than anything, we embraced the moment. We stayed in the moment every game. I'm more proud because most of these guys haven't played in this atmosphere before.
"From (fellow free-agent-to-be) Dion (Waiters) to Enes to Andre, Steven - this is his first time as a starter playing, in this type of atmosphere as one of the main guys," Durant said. "(Veteran) Randy (Foye) never made it to the Western Conference Finals, and he played a lot. Anthony Morrow had never made it to the playoffs, so I was just proud of how everyone just stayed in the moment and enjoyed it. That's what I'm most proud of."
And then, the curious kicker."I see bright things for this team," he added. "And it's great to be a part of it."
That does not sound like a man thinking about taking off. But again, the wound is fresh. He's still wearing Thunder gear, around Thunder friends, experiencing a disappointing loss at the end of an emotional season in which we saw the team suffer through the death of a minority owner, the death of the wife of an assistant coach (Monty Williams) in a tragic car accident, the absence of Mo Cheeks with hip surgery, and all that's before the on-court stuff.
Durant may feel differently in a day, in a week, in three weeks, in six weeks when the time to make his decision arrives. But for right now, the odds-on favorite result for Durant is for him to sign a one-year deal with OKC with an opt-out for next summer, with an even bigger NBA cap and and Russell Westbrook also set to hit free agency.
There will be drama, there will be rumors, but you should consider the Thunder, after this incredible playoff run, the favorites to retain KD.