The Oklahoma City Thunder lost game seven of the Western Conference Finals 96-88 on Monday night, but even after originally leading the series 3-1 before three consecutive Warriors' wins, the gut punch of a defeat can't compare to the potential loss the team could face this summer: Kevin Durant leaving in free agency. The Thunder superstar was unsurprisingly unwilling to reveal how real of a possibility his departure was immediately following the loss.
"We just lost like 30 minutes ago," Durant said when asked if he had considered his future. "I haven't even thought about it yet. I'm just embracing my teammates and reflecting on the season. I'll think about that stuff, I don't know when, but we just lost an hour or 30 minutes ago, so I don't know."
It makes sense that Durant will need more time before making such a potentially life-altering decision, but his word choice when speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today does suggest he is leaning towards remaining in Oklahoma City:
"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."
Durant was always the longest of longshots to join the Lakers this summer, it would have been the free agency equivalent of Shaquille O'Neal making ten consecutive free throws. Blindfolded. From the opposite side of the gym.
Even with an estimated $64.1 million in cap space, the Lakers are prevented from offering Durant all of that money by the CBA, and thus likely never had a real chance at nabbing the crown jewel of a free agency class with a distinct lack of star power. Durant's comments tonight just make it seem even less likely that the Lakers' dream will become the Thunder's nightmare.
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