Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti responded to ongoing trade rumors involving Kevin Durant on Wednesday, calling them "ludicrous" and saying "there's no way to measure" the defending NBA Most Valuable Player's value to the franchise.
Durant, 26, can become a free agent in 2016. With the Thunder able to offer a max contract exceeding the value of any other team's, multiple league executives were quoted in January as saying Durant's next deal could be worth around $200 million.
[daily_cut.nba] Also at play is the NBA's new nine-year, $24 billion television deal, which will begin for the 2016-17 season. The NBA would like to use a "smoothing" approach to the 2016-17 salary cap in order to avoid a significant spike once the TV deal kicks in, but the players association announced on Wednesday it would not agree to such a proposal.
The Thunder have also seen continued development from star point guard Russell Westbrook, who is signed through 2016. Already a three-time All-Star entering this season, Westbrook is averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game—all career highs.
Durant has been limited to 27 games this season by ankle and foot injuries, but is still averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said on Wednesday that Durant, out of the lineup since Feb. 19 after having surgery to replace a screw in his right foot, is expected to return in one to two weeks.
Oklahoma City (35-28) entered Wednesday eighth in the Western Conference.
- Mike Fiammetta