LAS VEGAS – Ever since LeBron James announced he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has heard the drum beat louder for him to return to his hometown of Washington.
"It's being talked about," Durant said after the U.S. team's practice for the World Cup on Tuesday. "Everybody is asking me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it. I'm not going to sit here and act like I'm naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff.
"I tell everybody, 'Look, I'm here in Oklahoma City. I love it here. Who knows what will happen?' I will never close the door on anything, but I like where I'm at right now."
Durant thought James made a great decision to return home to Akron, Ohio, and texted him congratulations.
"I thought it was well thought out. It was classy," Durant said. "Great move to do it through a letter. That was pretty cool. It's fun to see a guy think about more than basketball for once than himself. I'm not saying LeBron is always thinking about himself, but he thought about the city where he comes from and Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many kids.
"It's bigger than basketball, and I love that. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making a decision that is best for them instead of what's best for everybody else. And he's a guy who did that. I applauded him."
Durant was born in D.C. and starred in high school in nearby Maryland and Virginia. He has routinely returned home in the summer to play in the Pro-Am Goodman League. He also recently attended a family reunion back home for a day this month.
Durant has been with one franchise the duration of his NBA career, beginning with the Seattle SuperSonics then moving to Oklahoma City when they became the Thunder. During his emotional MVP acceptance speech this year, he talked about what Oklahoma City and the Thunder mean to him. But in two years, the Wizards are expected to make a push to bring him home.
"I'm going to do what is best for me," Durant said. "It's hard to talk about that right now. I have two years left with Oklahoma City. I'm just focusing on that. I'm not going to make a decision based on what somebody else does."
James departed Miami after four straight NBA Finals appearances that included two titles. Winning a title in Oklahoma City, however, could have an opposite impact on Durant.
"Two years straight [winning titles], that would be cool," he said. "It would definitely be tough to do anything. It's one of those things where you're building a dynasty now winning two in a row.
"But I'm not focused on down the line. I'm focused on today. I love my teammates and my coaches. I love Oklahoma City."
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