While it may take some time for Oklahoma City’s fans and his former teammates to forgive Kevin Durant for leaving the Thunder in free agency this summer, Billy Donovan, his now former coach, praised how the forward handled the process, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical relays.
“I don’t know if I ever felt like he was going to necessarily come back, but I thought our meeting went very, very well,” Donovan told Wojnarowski. “I think Kevin on the front end was very, very, honest that 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, we talked about obviously his leadership, his role, all those kind of things. I think leaving the meeting it was very, very positive. I thought it was very, very clear. I think there was direction on both sides.
But one thing I think with Kevin was going through nine years in the organization, he was at a point of time when he was allowed obviously to be a 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 changed in terms of what he was evaluating.”
Despite the media bringing up Durant’s pending free agency at every opportunity during the 2015/16 season, Donovan said he appreciated how the forward didn’t allow it to become a distraction on the court or in the locker room, the Vertical scribe relays. “The thing I thought Kevin did a great job of this year was the fact that everywhere we went to a lot of different marketplaces, there was always the question of ‘Are you going to consider this team? Are you going to consider that team? Have you given this any thought?’ I really appreciated for our team we were able to stay focused on our team, the season, the playoffs, without having the distraction. I thought Kevin handled it really, really well and was consistent all the way through.“