Kevin Durant knew he'd leave the Thunder before the playoffs even ended

Kevin Durant.
(Image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

This summer, on July 4, NBA superstar Kevin Durant declared his independence from the Oklahoma City Thunder and announced he'd sign with the Golden State Warriors. The decision shook the league — shifting the balance of power by adding one of the most dynamic players to one of the most dynamic teams — and many regarded Durant's announcement as a surprise, expecting him to stand pat in Oklahoma.

But for Durant, the decision wasn't random at all — in fact, he had a hunch he'd end up in the Bay Area before he'd even played his last game in the Thunder uniform. As the cover star for the newest issue of Rolling Stone, Durant explained his free agency move to writer Paul Solotaroff:

[Durant] went home crushed [after the Thunder lost Game Six of the Western Conference Finals to the Warriors], replaying his every miss — and there'd been plenty. He acquitted himself better in Game Seven, but [Thunder point guard Russell] Westbrook was strictly on fumes then. Some part of Durant knew he'd already punched his ticket. "It felt like that whole thing was set up for me to leave," he says, "especially after they blew a lead in the Finals, because I damn sure wasn't going there if they'd won. But after Game Seven, I called up my agent and said, 'Damn, dude, Golden State — what if?'" [Rolling Stone]

Durant, now 28, explains how his difficult childhood in a tough neighborhood largely prevented him from pursuing anything except basketball from ages 8 to 18, and how that insular life inspired him to take a chance on the Warriors. Read the whole story — including what Durant has to say about his much-scrutinized relationship with Russell Westbrookat Rolling Stone.

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Kimberly Alters

Kimberly Alters is the news editor at She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.