Northwest Notes: Durant, Thunder, Rubio, Jazz

Kevin Durant‘s free agency will be one of the top NBA stories this offseason, and given how much speculation has surrounded his decision for the last several months, Thunder GM Sam Presti credits the star forward for blocking out the noise and focusing on the team (link via Royce Young of ESPN.com). Presti, who referred to Durant’s handling of the situation as “a tremendous example of a franchise player putting the franchise first,” also suggested that OKC should have an advantage of other suitors because the club has been able to make its pitch to Durant for the last nine years.

“We’ve had a relationship with Kevin in Oklahoma City for eight years, nine with this particular franchise, and we talk to him all the time,” the Thunder GM said. “I think when those [free agency] conversations occur, it’s really just a continuation of a dialogue that’s been going on for eight or nine years. It’s a chance to reflect and recognize that relationship and continue the conversations that we’ve had on going.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest, including Presti’s comments on a couple other OKC players:

  • Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman (Twitter links) passes along Presti’s comments on restricted free agent Dion Waiters and Anthony Morrow, whose contract for 2016/17 is currently non-guaranteed. In Slater’s view, the Thunder GM sounds confident that both players will return to the club.
  • In a an interview with a radio station in Spain, Ricky Rubio made some interesting comments about his future in Minnesota, suggesting that when he hits free agency he’ll make it a priority to end up with a team capable of making the playoffs and competing for the Finals. I’d be wary of reading too much into Rubio’s comments, which were translated by ESPN.com, but it could be a situation worth watching if the Timberwolves don’t take the sort of step forward next season that many observers expect them to take.
  • With Justin Zanik having left for Milwaukee, the Jazz are considering potential options to replace him as the assistant general manager in Utah. Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune has an update on the search, with quotes from GM Dennis Lindsey.
  • Greg Stiemsma is among the participants at today’s Jazz free agent mini-camp, while Dwight Buycks and other free agents will work out at a Trail Blazers mini-camp, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links).

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