Kevin Durant is set to make his lone appearance of the season in D.C. tomorrow night, and with his highly-anticipated free agency a few months away, you can be sure that Wizards fans will loudly and forcefully remind the hometown hero of just how beloved he is.
Durant isn’t comfortable with the naked adulation he gets in Washington, and despite the organization’s not-so-secret plan to recruit KD next summer, Bradley Beal says he’s unhappy with the way Wizards fans lust after the former MVP.
Bradley Beal on the response to KD in DC: "It is disrespectful. He plays for Oklahoma City, not Washington."
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 9, 2015
Kevin Durant today on the reception he received last time he played the Wizards in D.C. pic.twitter.com/5K0K1pUGWR
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) November 9, 2015
Durant knows this can never be, but wishes his future plans (the so-called “elephant in the room”) weren’t such a big deal.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
“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.”
Rumors and speculation about his future have been circulating for at least two years but Durant has managed to hit the mute button on most of the noise. With his franchise in the midst of a critical campaign, and so much hinging on what he eventually decides, Durant has tried to deflect or avoid much of the attention that could separate him from the team. While that will change some Tuesday at Verizon Center, as his free agency hijacks the headlines, Durant said navigating through that aspect of this season has hardly been overwhelming. […] “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.
Durant remembers the environment he encountered last season when the Thunder made their lone visit last January and Wizards fans with conflicted loyalties fawned over him, holding “KD2DC” signs and wearing Wizards No. 35 jerseys with “Durant” on the back. During one bizarre scene in the arena, a sponsored weather promotion briefly showed Durant photoshopped in a Washington jersey on the jumbo screen in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s overtime win. […] “It was crazy. It was crazy,” Durant said. “It was kind of disrespectful, in my opinion, because you’ve got a great team there already, that deserves your full, 100 percent support. And I wouldn’t like that if I was on that team. And I didn’t like that. But it comes with it nowadays. It’s a part of it. 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.”