Kevin Durant denies giving Thunder a Finals-or-else ultimatum
Kevin Durant on Tuesday denied the latest rumor concerning his NBA future by shooting down the notion that he gave the Oklahoma City Thunder and ultimatum that he’s leaving if the team fails to reach the NBA Finals this season.
“I never said that,” he said, via ESPN’s Royce Young. “I never thought that.”
Durant, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, said it wouldn’t make sense to issue such an ultimatum nor would it be fair to the Thunder organization or his teammates.
“Like I said, I can’t control rumors from people who sit behind their desk every day and think of stuff to say,” he continued. “I’m worrying about coming out here every day and staying healthy and trying to battle against the best players in the world while rumors are getting written up about whatever, and I have no control over it. That’s their job, and my job is to play ball. So I never said that.”
The superstar repeatedly has attempted to avoid discussion involving his future — even as recently as last month — but he’s arguably been given little recourse but to confront them, despite his disdain for doing so.
The latest report that suggested he basically told the Thunder it’s Finals-or-bust came from New Orleans Pelicans play-by-play broadcaster and Sirius XM Radio’s Joel Meyers, who indicated as much according to some calls he made last weekend.
Given the multitude of variables that would go into whether the Thunder were able to reach the Finals — key injuries among them — it arguably makes little sense for Durant to make such an ultimatum. And as has been the case with every other rumor that has been floated, Durant stressed Tuesday that only statements made by people who comprise his inner circle should be taken seriously.
“If it didn’t come from me or anybody I know, like I said in the summertime, I don’t know where it came from,” he said. “Everybody makes up rumors around this time of year and everyone wants clicks for their stories, so that’s a part of it. I have nothing to do with that. I can’t control it. I’m just focused on playing better each and every game.”
With July 1 still a ways down the road, expect Durant to have to dispel another round of rumors, if not several, between now and then.