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Kevin Durant says Wizards' free-agent courting last year was 'disrespectful'

The Thunder star believes Washington fans should embrace the team they have.

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday the Kevin Durant Free Agency Tour will kick into high gear as the Thunder travel to Durant's hometown of Washington D.C. to take on the Wizards.

This July, Durant, 27, will become the most coveted free agent since LeBron James. For about two years now rumors have been circulating about Durant's future. Most seem to believe that this summer he will either re-sign with Oklahoma City or emulate James' most recent free agent decision and sign with his hometown Wizards.

Durant's visit to Washington last year was met with hoopla, an amount that Durant, speaking about his free agency for the first time this year, to USA Today's Sam Amick and Yahoo! Sports' Michael Lee, now says made him uncomfortable.

"[It] was kind of disrespectful, in my opinion, because you've got a great team there already that deserves your full 100% support," Durant said, via USA Today. "I wouldn't like that if I was on that team. I didn't like that, but it comes with it nowadays.

"Me, I feel, is you should focus on who you have on your team. It's easy to get your hopes up and expect a guy to come to your team or whatever — and I'm not talking about myself, I'm just talking about free agency in the past years and in the future — you get your hopes up as a fan, and then they let you down and you end up not liking the player. There's a little bit too much emphasis on that type of stuff, but it's part of the game."

This sentiment was echoed by Wizards guard Bradley Beal.


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But Durant has never shied away from proudly displaying his Washington roots. He's been photographed wearing a customized Washington football jersey and has had Nike sneakers made in Washington football burgundy and gold.

The Wizards have also embraced this connection. In 2014 they hired David Adkins, Durant's high school coach. When the Thunder came to D.C. last season, the Wiz put a picture of Durant in a Washington football jersey up on its jumbotron.

"I'm really not good with attention," Durant said, via Yahoo! Sports. "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."

After playing just 27 games last season due to various foot injuries, Durant has returned this year and looks like the same player who two years ago was named MVP. He's averaging 30.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and shooting 50 percent from the field. The Thunder are 4-3.

But Durant said he's aware that, too many fans, its the off-the-court storyline that matters more. He also said he doesn't care.

"I don't care if guys in the stands respect me I'm more for respect from the guys on the court," he said, via USA Today. "Praise from people lobbying me to play for their team or whatever. I can't please them. I'm sure they're the same ones who will cuss me out when we go into an arena as the opposing team. So, I try not to focus on that, worry about that."

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