Kevin Durant made some of his strongest comments yet about his future free agency, going as far to say he wants to have his jersey retired in Oklahoma City.
"I love it here, man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don't really think about anywhere else," Durant told Revolt TV in a recent interview. "I hear it all the time, don't get me wrong, and once you hear it you're kind of like [looks up, thinking]. But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I'm one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.
"Kobe [Bryant], Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type. That's awesome," he said. "But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feel about you after a while, but I love it here and I would love to get my jersey retired here."
Durant underwent bone graft surgery on his right foot Tuesday, officially ruling him out for the rest of the 2014-15 season. That leaves only one more campaign remaining until his much-anticipated free agency in the summer of 2016.
Durant has resisted talking much about his future, but amid growing speculation he's interested in returning to the area in which he grew up, he deflected questions about Washington, D.C., when the Thunder visited the Wizards in January.
"I love playing for Oklahoma City, man. There's just a certain level of pride that I have when I play with that Oklahoma City on my chest," he said then. "So that's the only thing I'm focused on. Everybody knows that I represent where I come from that no matter where I play at, no matter what arena. But I'm just focused on playing with Oklahoma City. It feels like home now. That's where I am."
The Thunder will be able to offer Durant both an extra year and more money than any other team by virtue of holding his Bird rights. Drafted by the franchise in 2007 (when it was the Seattle SuperSonics), Durant has spent eight seasons with the organization, winning four scoring titles and an MVP award while appearing in three of the past four Western Conference finals and the NBA Finals in 2012.
Durant, 26, played in only 27 games this season, averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.