Kevin Durant's free agent in 2016 will be one of the NBA's most widely talked about stories, but he hasn't had too difficult of a time yet answering questions from the media.
Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder will play at the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Durant grew up in the Washington area and has been strongly linked to the Wizards as a potential free agent destination.
"First of all, it's always an elephant in the room when you're talking about that stuff. I don't want to, like, totally just dodge it. I know it's coming. I know the situation," Durant said. "But I'm really focusing on how I can be better every game. And how I can get back – I don't want say get back, because I'm back – but get used to playing again. All that other stuff is going to come, but we'll wait until we get to that bridge when we cross it."
Durant has tried to deflect attention that could separate him from his team.
"It really hasn't been like that. I was in Houston, and it was not bad. It's not like ESPN is following us every trip. Nobody has really asked me about it, to be honest," Durant said.
"I'm really not good with attention," he said. "I really don't like all this stuff to be centered around me. It comes with it, it's a part of it, but I'm still getting used to it. I learned to embrace it a little bit more, but it's still a little awkward for me."
Durant has been with the Thunder for seven-plus seasons and this will be his first time experiencing free agency.
"Free agency is like a season and it shouldn't be that big," Durant said. "Me, I feel like you should focus on who you have. It's easy to get your hopes up and expect a guy to come to your team or whatever – I'm not talking about myself, I'm just talking about free agency in past years and the future. You get your hopes up as a fan, and then they let you down and then you end up not liking the player. So, it's a little too much emphasis on that type of stuff. But it's part of the game.
"I always been a guy who loves praise from my teammates and coaches. I want to please them more than anything. But I never been one of those guys that looks for it from everybody else. I don't care if guys in the stands respect me. I'm more for respect from the guys on the court. Praise from people lobbying me to play for their team or whatever. I can't please them. I'm sure they're the same ones who will cuss me out when we go into an arena as the opposing team. So, I try not to focus on that, worry about that. I'd rather have respect from my peers. From my teammates and my coaches."