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Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant on free agency: 'you've got to look at it holistically'

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In a sitdown with USA Today Sports, one of the league's best players ever was asked about advice he would give one of its current greats on free agency. His answer covered all bases.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant might have retired this past season, but that isn't stopping him from making news in the league he just left. In case you reside underneath a rock with poor wifi, you've probably heard of Kevin Durant's impending free agency. It's the biggest decision of his life since he last signed an extension in Oklahoma City and the decision to play at the University of Texas before that.

Bryant once had to make a similar decision about his career, so the experience in this field is obviously worth listening to.

In an interview with budding media superstar Alysha Tsuji of USA Today's For the Win , Bryant had this to say about possible advice he'd lend to Durant about this process.

KB: Yeah, I mean, you know, you’ve just got to look at it holistically. What does he want out of his career, what opportunities present themselves, even I — when I was a free agent — I did my due diligence, I looked at every opportunity and I left no stone unturned, so you have to vet those things. I was just very fortunate things worked out for me in Los Angeles, but he certainly needs to look at every opportunity and make the right decision for himself — keeping in mind his fan base in Oklahoma, as well.

My first takeaway is that this remains consistent with what Durant didn't say during his exit interview this week. At no point does either guy mention winning. Kobe using the word "holistically" speaks to prioritizing the situation over winning. Hearing Durant say this was interesting, but hearing Kobe echo the sentiment is downright shocking. When you think of Kobe, the automatic thought that jumps into one's head is "ruthless winner".

Their thinking is probably pretty simple: They're confident enough in their talents that so long as the situation lends itself to their comfort and the comfort of their teammates, the winning will happen on its own to a certain extent.

Also of note from Kobe's thoughts was how business savvy he remains. Like he says, he never had to worry about the opportunities a larger market might present. Say what you will about whether that remains an actual factor, but you're crazy if you don't think Durant is thinking about it.

If Durant does choose to leave Oklahoma City for greener pastures elsewhere, he'll have some explaining to do to a fan base that adores him. Remaining at least somewhat connected to those fans should absolutely be a priority if he wants to continue building his brand on the hard work that has been his first nine years in the NBA.

Durant obviously has an immense decision ahead of him, and while Kobe might be out of the NBA, his two cents hold quite a bit of weight, considering he's been through much of the same.

The entire interview is well worth your time, by the way.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @AnthonyIrwinLA.