AUSTIN, Texas -- Kevin Durant is less than two weeks away from being a free agent for the first time in his life, and on Monday at a barbecue place he frequented as a freshman at the University of Texas, he released his new KD9 signature shoe. But naturally, the conversation turned to his uncertain future.
"I know how important this time is," Durant said. "Like I've been saying all season, I have people I trust. I have all the trust in the world in them that we'll sit down and figure this thing out, figure out what's best for me. It's a little bit more complicated now, because it's still a few weeks away.
"I'm worried about basketball," he said. "That's what it is for me. It's a basketball decision."
Asked what he means by a "basketball decision," Durant said it's not necessarily about the spotlight or the money.
"Just who I'm going to be playing with and the people I'm going to be around every single day, that's what it's all about for me," Durant told ESPN.com in an interview at Stubb's Bar-B-Q in downtown Austin. "You tend to hear about the market and the opportunities you can get off the basketball court, but I'm blessed, man, to be making what I make as a basketball player."
Durant is one of four signature shoe basketball players for Nike (Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are the others) and is one of the biggest global brands in professional sports. He signed a deal with Nike worth an estimated $300 million. He's had one of the best-selling jerseys for the past five years, and he grabbed the fourth-most All-Star votes this season, trailing Bryant, Stephen Curry and James.
"And I'm doing this in Oklahoma City," he said. "I don't care about commercials, I don't really care about this s---, I just want to hoop. But this comes with it and I got all this being in Oklahoma City. So all that stuff doesn't really matter to me. It's all about who I'm gonna play with, what type of people I'm going to be around every single day and I'll go from there."
After spending all nine seasons of his career with the Thunder organization, Durant will become a free agent on July 1, and he has basically the entire league lining up to try to get a meeting with him. Since the Thunder's season ended, he said he's just been taking it easy and "chilling," and hasn't really gotten too deep into the thought process behind his decision.
"Right now, I've got a lot of stuff to do with Nike, so I'm really just trying to lock in on this and really kick these things off real nice," he said. "But at the same time, man, just knowing what's coming, I'm just trying to be prepared for it. Like I said, lock in with my guys and really come up with a plan on how we're going to move forward. Just taking a day at a time with it.
"It's an opportunity a lot of people get put in and I just want to make sure I've got everything covered," he said. "Look at everything and figure everything out on my own and with my guys and go from there. I'm not guaranteeing anything, I'm not saying anything, but I just want to make sure I've got everything looked at first and go from there."