Connor Letourneau: Durant: "I feel as though I am going…

More on Kevin Durant Free Agency

Anthony Slater: Kevin Durant shrugs away more free agency rehash questions, said he's "tired of it" "talked about it all year" and wants to "stay in moment"
Durant's gesture would allow the Warriors to keep their entire core together for years to come even as star point guard Stephen Curry potentially signs one of the first five-year, "supermax" contracts created by the new collective bargaining agreement in which a team can reward one designated veteran player per year with a contract starting at 35 percent of next year's projected $101 million salary cap.
This is particularly relevant to free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, who have been pivotal to the Warriors' success as they have advanced to three straight NBA Finals.
“I made the 100 percent correct decision, win or lose,” Durant told The Undefeated after the Warriors’ practice at AT&T Center in San Antonio on Sunday. “I feel like this is the place I was supposed to be. I appreciate everything I’ve done before this. But I’m here now, and I feel like it’s a great spot for me to be.
Will you be playing for the Warriors next season? (Durant has a one-year player option for next season with the Warriors paying $27.7 million.) Yeah. I love it here. I love my teammates. I love the city [of Oakland]. I love the organization. I love it here. I don’t plan on going anywhere else.
Noah Coslov: Here's Kendrick Perkins on Area 21 on KD & Russ being on speaking terms and thoughts on KD returning to OKC at some point.
The key mathematical part of this for the Warriors is Durant, who could seek the max of about $36 million for 2017-2018. But the Warriors don’t have his Bird Rights, so they’d have to shed a lot of money to create the cap space to fit such a salary, and that would include the renouncing of Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
But if Durant is willing to take strictly a 20-percent raise from this season’s salary of $26.5 million up to $31.8 million, the Warriors would not have to fit him into cap space and then could use Bird Rights to re-sign Iguodala and Livingston above and beyond the cap. “Haven’t even thought about it that much,” Durant said on the podcast. “But I don’t plan on going anywhere else.”
Kevin Durant has no intentions to host another nauseating round of free agency pitch meetings with desperate suitors in the Hamptons. Durant is set to become a free agent once again this summer, but this decision will be fairly simple: He will remain with the Golden State Warriors. "I haven't even thought about it that much but I don't plan on going anywhere else," Durant said on the Warriors Plus Minus podcast.
But Durant could nix that issue by taking a starting salary of $31.8 million — a 20 percent increase from this season, but about $4 million less than his projected max. That would allow the Warriors to sign him under his non-Bird rights, freeing them to go over the cap to retain Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. At Saturday’s All-Star availability in New Orleans, Durant was asked if that’s something he would consider. “We’ll figure that out when the time comes,” Durant said.
“I’m liking it here,” Durant said. “I’m liking everything that’s going on. I know what my contract says, but I didn’t plan on coming here for just a year. I’m in it right now, and I’m also just focusing on day by day. I know it’s cliché, and you hear that all the time, but I’m seriously just not thinking about it because I’m like – I’m just in it for the long haul.”
“I have no angst whatsoever (about re-signing Durant and Curry),” Warriors owner Joe Lacob told USA TODAY Sports. “I totally am positive (that) I think those guys are going to sign. They’re both free agents. They have a right to do whatever they want. They’ve earned it, and I respect that. If they don’t sign with us for some reason, then shame on me and us. I take responsibility for that. But I don’t see that happening.”
Ananth Pandian: Kevin Durant is not a fan of Joe Lacob's jokes pic.twitter.com/I3PQCV4UBN

http://twitter.com/Ananth_Pandian/status/821485993987489792
Because Durant would need to be signed with cap space, the large cap holds of both Shaun Livingston ($10.9 million) and Andre Iguodala ($16.7 million) would need to be renounced. Curry’s $18 million free-agent cap hold will now be replaced with a likely $36 million salary. The remainder of the roster would be filled using the room mid-level exception and minimum players, meaning the total committed salaries for next season will likely be $135 million. Golden State will likely be in the luxury tax with a $21.5 million penalty. A. Under contract Kevin Durant $36,050,000. Stephen Curry $36,050,000. Klay Thompson $17,826,150. Draymond Green $16,400,000.
Did Durant deceive the Thunder in any way? Donovan, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: I think Kevin on the front end was very, very honest. When the season ended, he was going to go through this process, and he was going to take a meeting with us obviously first and then he was going to have some other teams he was going to meet with. And I think a little bit later on, after the season ended, they decided to do it out in the Hamptons. But I thought the meeting that we had went very well. I think we talked about basketball. We talked about our team. We talked about direction, talked about obviously his leadership, his role – all those kind of things. And I think, leaving the meeting, it was very, very, I thought, positive. I thought it was very, very clear. I think there was direction on both sides.
And the one thing I think with Kevin was that going through nine years with the organization, he was at a point in time where he was allowed obviously to be this free agent and go through this process and start to gather some information. We were the first meeting. So, obviously, I think, being in college for so long and you go through recruiting, you know that during that process things can change through some of these different meetings. And obviously, after meeting with Golden State, things probably in his mind probably changed.
“I’m not coming into a team where a guy is playing my position and we have try to fit in two guys playing the same position,” Durant told The Vertical. “I’m not coming in trying to play the point guard, trying to play the shooting guard. I’m a small forward. The team didn’t have a small forward when I signed. Steph, Klay, Draymond, the bigs, we all play different positions. Whether it’s minutes, shots, opportunities, any good team will have players sacrificing. That’s the nature of the game. I’m not coming into a game saying that I need my 18 shots and I need to get to the line 12 times. I let the game flow naturally.”
Frank Hassle: Did Durant really tell Russ he was coming back? Or did you just misspeak on the @TrueHoopTV pod? You saying he lied to Russ? - Royce Young: I'm not sure what I said. What I meant is Westbrook believed Durant would come back after their meeting.
Jae Crowder was a part of the Boston Celtics' pitch to Kevin Durant this summer, and after the meeting, he said he felt pretty confident. "I came home after the meeting and told them, like, if he leaves, he's coming to us. But I didn't think he was leaving," Crowder said before a 60 Days of Summer appearance at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
"We were the only team in the NBA to beat both (Cleveland and Golden State) on their home court — the only team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics," Crowder said. "We told him that. We played him clips from both games and told him basically the scouting report of how we guarded Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) — our entire game plan, basically. That's what made me mad. We (expletive) told him everything we do to beat these guys, and we beat them, and he went and joined them. I mean, that's part of the process, but I did not think he would go to those two teams ... I felt like afterward, I was talking to Isaiah, like maybe after you sit back, you shouldn't have told him everything, but who the (expletive) thought he was going to Golden State, realistically? It was like a slap in the face for us, basically."
"That team is for sure the villain of the league," Crowder said. "Every other NBA guy, friends of mine, are really disgusted from how the league is turning on that standpoint. Everybody is joining together, everybody wants to go to Golden State or Cleveland." The Celtics, meanwhile, will look to move forward with a strong team, only made stronger by the acquisition of Horford. While Crowder said he is looking forward to playing the Warriors, they aren't his primary focus. "I'm looking for sure to beat Golden State the most, probably, but at the end of the day, our task is the Eastern Conference," he said. "We have to see Cleveland. That's where my focus is, that's what drives me. We have to beat those guys to advance."
"There's no commitment from Kevin," Welts said. "He signed a one-year contract with a player option. So I think the hope and expectation is there's a business reason for doing that more than there is a basketball reason for doing that. We've got to be a place that is as good as he thought it was when he selected the Warriors over the other options that he had. I think we're going through a really interesting time in our league. We're all trying to figure out what the new world is going to look like."
The first day, though, was not easy. At his introductory press conference, Durant sat stiffly atop the dais, bracing for the inevitable queries about shortcuts to titles. When Kerr suggested he might bring his shiny new acquisition off the bench, everybody laughed except Durant, causing the coach to clarify. “I’m joking,” he said. Eventually, Durant warmed up. “We live in this superhero comic book world,” he said, “where you’re either a villain or you’re a superhero…I trusted my gut. I trusted my instincts. It’s the unpopular decision. But I can live with it.” From the Philippines, where Canada participated in an Olympic qualifying tournament, Nash downplayed his friend’s quest for NBA gold. “I think it was as much a personal move for his happiness and development as it was to win,” Nash told reporters.
Knicks general manager Steve Mills said his club didn’t meet Kevin Durant’s criterion as a team on the verge of an NBA championship, but indicated they would have been more eager for a Hamptons meeting with Durant had they thought he would be a free agent again next season. Team president Phil Jackson indicated similarly last week that a free-agent meeting with Durant (who signed with the Warriors on two-year deal with a player option after one) was more about building a relationship for “next time.’’
“It’s what the NBA has turned out to be,’’ Jackson said. ”That’s the way it’s going to be for a while — players allowed this to go forward instead of smoothing it, so there’s tons of money. There’s an opportunity to do major moves in the NBA. It’s very interesting, compelling team that Golden State has put together. It doesn’t guarantee a championship but does guarantee they’ll be watched and very competent.” Jeff Hornacek added: “If he wasn’t going to the Knicks, staying out West was fine by me.’’
Ian Begley: Here's Knicks GM Steve Mills on the club not getting a free agent meeting with Kevin Durant: "We knew that KD wanted to go to a team that he felt like had a chance to win the championship this upcoming season and we didn't fit that bill. But we know that if he had made a decision to do a one and one (with OKC) that we would have a meeting with him because then we would have been one of those teams he would think about for the following year," Mills said. ".... When he made the decision to go to Golden State...my assumption is that he would stay there."
Executives who saw Durant over the weekend, in the mansion off the beach, say he looked drained. He was sitting through as many as six hours of meetings per day, while simultaneously hearing from the Warriors, whose pitch never really ended. Iguodala told Durant he’d have the time of his life in Golden State. Curry insisted he’d be embraced immediately. The Warriors’ incumbent star swore he didn’t care about billboards or shoe sales. He just wanted banners. Durant, already seduced by the Dubs’ rollicking offensive system, was sold.
When nine Thunder officials visited Durant on Sunday afternoon, hoping for the last word, they realized they were too late. Durant woke up July 4 at 7 a.m. with his decision made. Informing Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti, Durant said, was the hardest thing he’s ever done. Calling Myers was even a struggle. “I just want to say you guys are a great first-class organization,” he told the Warriors GM. “It was great getting to know you….but.”
This will affect teams' planning for 2017 free agency -- specifically the Warriors. Kevin Durant is signing a contract Thursday that will allow him to re-enter the market as a free agent next summer. Because the Warriors will not have his full rights at that time, they will have to create $33.5 million in cap space if Durant wants a new max contract.
What was your reaction to Durant choosing Warriors? Stephen Curry: Big time move by a big time person. A lot of people are going to have something to say about it. Obviously, it was a tough decision for him because of how he felt about Oklahoma City. It mattered a lot to him. But that just shows you what kind of character he has.
How did you pitch him? Stephen Curry: We were just ourselves. All we did was pretty much talk. We told him how things would be, how we operated and how he would fit in. He would fit right in. He’s a team guy. That’s who he really is. We told him he wouldn’t have to change anything and we wouldn’t have to change anything for him. He just fits right in. We just told him to do what is best for you. We wanted him, that’s why we were all there. But we wanted him to do what was best for him. At the ed of the day, he made a decision that he thought was best for him.
“We live in this superhero comic book world where either you’re a villain or you’re a superhero if you’re in this position, and I know that,” Durant said. “And I know I haven’t changed as a person. I don’t treat people any differently because I made the decision to play basketball in another city. I understand the fans in Oklahoma City and basketball fans around the world are, I guess, upset, but like I said, I made the decision based upon what I wanted to do and how I felt.”
Count Rockets forward Michael Beasley as someone who thinks Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors as a good decision. Beasley and Durant are childhood friends, growing up in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area. The two also played on the same AAU team. "I think it was an awesome decision for him," Beasley said Wednesday. "I think that was probably the coolest thing the sports world has seen in a long time. You get the best team and you always get the best player on the best team, it set the whole league on a tilt.
He still very much likes his club’s situation -- and rightly so -- but he is well aware of how much different things could have looked if Durant had gone Green. And, just like the Celtic citizenry, he has wondered whether he could have done anything that would have changed that decision. Could he have made a trade? Could he have acquired a key player that convinced Kevin Durant to sign here? “You know, I thought about that before and I’ve thought about that after, and I really don’t think so -- shy of a couple of moves that I couldn’t do,” Ainge told the Herald in a lengthy conversation this morning. “But in deals that we could have done that we refused to do, I don’t think that would have mattered for this. I think that KD really likes our players.” In other words, Ainge would have had to part with one or more core players that were part of the reason Durant was attracted to the Celtics in the first place.
The Celts did get Al Horford to agree to a free agent deal, a move the now-former Atlanta center delivered via Twitter after Ainge, Brad Stevens, ownership, a group of players and Tom Brady had met with Durant in the Hamptons earlier on Saturday. But Durant may have been ahead of the C’s on that news. “I got the impression that they knew something before we did,” said Ainge. “I know that they had some conversation. They were very familiar with what Horford was choosing between. It seemed to me in the presentation like Al and KD had been discussing their plans together.”
Storyline: Kevin Durant Free Agency
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Washington Westbrook's preferred destination

Michael Lee: Someone close to Russell Westbrook told me DC was his preferred destination. Russ was intrigued about playing with Bradley Beal & excited to reunite with Scott Brooks. I can’t remember a guy coming off an All-NBA season who preferred to play for the Wizards, so there’s that…
This rumor is part of a storyline: 207 more rumors
Initial trade talks stalled over draft capital and the possibility of other players included in a deal — for instance, young big man Thomas Bryant —before both teams could come to terms on an agreement. In the end, it was a simple Westbrook-for-Wall swap with the addition of a heavily protected first-round pick. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard declared a week ago that the Wizards had no plans on trading Wall and the Rockets were prepared to enter camp with Westbrook, but situations in the NBA are always fluid and can change on a dime — a phone call is all it takes.
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