THE VILLAGE, Okla. - Like fellow NBA superstar LeBron James the night before, Kevin Durant sat in front of dozens of kids Friday as he talked about the future of his career.
The key difference: Everyone knew where Durant would play the next few years, with the franchise with which he started his career. A theme of loyalty - of the Thunder to Durant, of him to the team and the city that embraced him - dominated the day.
"To be here for five more years is a great feeling. Words can't explain how excited I am," Durant, 21, said. He stayed away from promises but said "our best years are ahead of us."
Durant began professing his love for Oklahoma City not long after the Thunder franchise moved from Seattle two years ago. As he emerged as a star, some wondered whether he might long for brighter lights instead of toiling in one of the league's smallest markets.
Instead, Durant and the Thunder agreed to a contract extension quickly. Team officials, including GM Sam Presti, showed up at Durant's house at 11:01 p.m. Central Time on June 30, the earliest time league rules allowed. "It showed how much they cared about me as a person," Durant said.
Durant is signed with the Thunder through next season under his rookie deal, which would pay him about $5 million next year. The five-year extension is for $87 million.
HEAT-WOLVES TRADE: Less than two hours after James said he was going to the Heat, the Timberwolves agreed to send a second-round pick to Miami for Michael Beasley, the Associated Press reported. Team owner David Kahn declined to comment because NBA rules prohibit teams from discussing deals before they're approved, but several Timberwolves eagerly anticipated the forward's arrival. "That's a great pickup," point guard Jonny Flynn said.
FISHER TALKS: Lakers free agent point guard Derek Fisher has a meeting scheduled with Heat president Pat Riley today, ESPN reported. Fisher, 35, has said he prefers to stay in Los Angeles but is exploring his options and wanted to at least talk to Riley.
BOBCATS: Forward Tyrus Thomas came to terms on a five-year, $40 million deal.
HAWKS: First-round pick Jordan Crawford agreed to a four-year deal worth just more than $1 million in his rookie season.
KNICKS: Team president Donnie Walsh said he is not retiring, denying a report he might step down.
SPURS: Former Gator Matt Bonner has reached a tentative agreement to return, his agent said.
SUNS: Forward Channing Frye signed a five-year, $30 million deal to remain with the team.
TURPIN DEATH: A coroner's report said former center Mel Turpin died Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The report gave no other information, including whether Turpin, 49, a former University of Kentucky star who played five NBA seasons, left a suicide note.