Qui­etly – no TV show – Du­rant makes call

Ex-Horn says he’ll stay with Thun­der in­stead of be­com­ing free agent next year

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Mur­ray Evans

OK­LA­HOMA CITY — Kevin Du­rant didn’t go for a spec­ta­cle in an­nounc­ing where he’ll be for the next five years. And he isn’t hold­ing out for the glitz of a ma­jor me­dia mar­ket, ei­ther.

In­stead, the for­mer Texas Longhorns star sim­ply posted an update on his Twit­ter page Wed­nes­day, say­ing he’d agreed to a five-year con­tract ex­ten­sion for $85 mil­lion with the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der.

“Exsten­sion for 5 more years wit the thun­der. … God Is Great, me and my fam­ily came a long way. … I love yall man for­real, this a bless­ing!” Du­rant tweeted.

An­other post soon fol­lowed, pre­sum­ably about the con­tract: “First time i cried n a while. … Kevin Du­rant, the youngest player to lead the NBA in scor­ing, re­upped with Ok­la­homa City for five years and $85 mil­lion. RIp Chucky, we doin wat we dreamed about … i swear i love all my bros!! yes­sir!!!

“Chucky” is one of Du­rant’s for­mer coaches, Charles Craig, who was shot to death in Mary­land in 2005.

Du­rant could have played this sea­son in Ok­la­homa City, then be­come a free agent next year and latched onto the New York Knicks or one of the splashy big-mar­ket teams that had the salary-cap space.

But the reign­ing NBA scor­ing leader made the long-term com­mit­ment to the small-mar­ket club, a tal­ented, young team that could be the most se­ri­ous chal­lenger to the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers in the Western Con­fer­ence.

Du­rant’s spokes­woman, Mary Ford, said the max­i­mum deal he will sign to­day has no opt-out clause af­ter the fourth year, con­tra­dict­ing sev­eral In­ter­net re­ports.

“He is ob­vi­ously com­mit­ted,” Ford said. “The small-mar­ket talk has never meant any­thing to Kevin. That kind of stuff is not im­por­tant to him. What is im­por­tant is his team, his team­mates, grow­ing, get­ting bet­ter and hope­fully bring­ing a cham­pi­onship to Ok­la­homa City.”

Du­rant was the No. 2 over­all pick in the 2007 draft and won the Rookie of the Year award. Last sea­son, he av­er­aged 30.1 points to be­come the youngest player to lead the league in scor­ing. He led the Thun­der to a 50-32 record — a 27-win im­prove­ment over the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

Sue Ogrocki

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