Alright, maybe I have no factual basis for making that claim, but think about it. Free agency in the NBA this year has been nothing shy of out of control. Twitter has become a major marketing tool and a place for anticipation and announcements. LeBron James is going to announce his future plans during a one-hour special on ESPN. That’s right, an actual show dedicated to one player announcing where he will sign as a free agent. It’s certainly safe to say that there’s never been a free agent period in any sport, at any point in time, that was accompanied by more buzz and speculation.
As a result, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided it’s best that they avoid a similar situation with their own franchise player. It’s no coincidence that the Thunder signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension on Wednesday that’s reportedly worth somewhere around $85 million and doesn’t include an opt-out clause. Durant exploded onto the scene last season, averaging over 30 points per game and earning enough respect to be considered an MVP contender.
Had the Thunder waited until his contract expired to begin hammering out an extension, there’s no doubt Durant would have been as highly sought after as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudemire were — and still are in the case of LeBron — this year. Instead, they chose to avoid a potential frenzy that could result in their franchise returning to the bottom of the barrel.
Durant’s extension will fly completely under the radar and be overshadowed by the decisions made by this year’s free agent class. I’m sitting here watching SportsCenter as I type and they’ve already discussed D-Wade’s and Bosh’s decisions to go to the Heat three times without even mentioning Kevin Durant. I’m sure the Thunder are more than happy to have it that way, and I’m confident that when the smoke clears resigning Durant will turn out to be one of the best moves of the 2010 NBA off-season.
Durant agrees to $85 million extension [Yahoo! Sports]