In the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that the NHL was expanding to 32 teams with the addition of a Seattle franchise set to begin play in 2021-22, some of the first reactions to the news could be summed up as follows:
“That’s cool, but what about the SuperSonics?”
After the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 season. there has been off-and-on discussion about potentially bringing them back to the Emerald City. And if such a plan were to seriously be put in place, Seattle’s last great NBA player wants to be part of it.
In an interview he did with ESPN’s Nick Friedell after his Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-105 Wednesday night, Kevin Durant expressed much interest in being part of some kind of NBA Seattle ownership group at some point.
“Hell yeah. Of course I would,” said Durant. “No matter if it’s Seattle or any team, just to help young men grow. Or help men in the next phase of their lives as basketball players. Why not? Especially somebody who’s gone through it and been through just about everything as an NBA player, outside of getting traded, I’ve been through pretty much everything. I would love to give back to an organization, the knowledge that I’ve gained. So hell yeah I’d be interested.”
Durant was drafted by the Sonics with the second-overall pick in 2007 and won rookie of the year at the end of the season, right before new team owner Clay Bennett and his Professional Basketball Club LLC company moved the team to his native Oklahoma City.
Though he spent just one season in Seattle, Durant has consistently said how much he enjoyed his time there and even paid homage to one of the SuperSonics greats by wearing a Shawn Kemp jersey during introductions of an exhibition game his Warriors played this season at KeyArena, the Sonics’ old home.
Durant sporting the Sonics Shawn Kemp 40 comes out to massive ovation in Seattle pic.twitter.com/72T87uJiMB
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 6, 2018
But while Durant says he’d love to potentially be involved in some kind of NBA ownership, he won’t be holding out for such an opportunity to arrive.
“Look, it would be a great story. But it would be a lot of hard work. It won’t be easy because it’s Seattle,” said Durant. “…I know people want to tie me into Seattle a lot, and I love being part of that, but I’m not just waiting for that opportunity. Any opportunity that comes around where I could become [part of] an ownership group or a front office or anywhere I could just help the team as of right now in my life I would go for it, but who knows what will happen at the end of my career?”
At 30 years old, Durant likely won’t be thinking about retirement for the next little while, but as he’s accomplished just about everything an NBA player could hope to, it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s thinking about his next steps.
In order to get ready for the NHL in 2021, KeyArena is undergoing serious renovation. Durant will be 33 by then and, while it doesn’t seem like expansion is top of mind for commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA right now, it could be by then, with what will essentially be a brand new building.