Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is planning to return to Oklahoma City for the jersey retirement of Nick Collison, his longtime teammate nicknamed “Mr. Thunder.”

Durant Set To Go Back To OKC

Durant told ESPN, “that group was so special, that whole group from 2010 until I left there, it was special. It’s about time for us to let go of all that extra stuff, and just come together — especially around this time, because it’s Nick.”

There are questions about Durant’s return. He’s been booed every time he’s returned to Oklahoma and has turned into one of the NBA’s biggest villains. There was the time he used a burner Twitter account to trash his teammates. Then, when he left the Thunder because he couldn’t hold on to a 3-1 series lead against the Warriors, he called it “the hardest road.” This was what he said when he left his team high and dry to join Golden State, who already had three All-Stars and set the record for most wins in a season with 73 that year.

Durant’s statement really should read: “Hey, I left you guys with nothing, trashed you on the Internet, claimed we’re all good, and still texted my agent and Warriors management during that series we blew. But hey, you guys need to move on.”

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Despite this, the Thunder plan to accommodate Durant. KD said that Collison was his go-to vet when he was first drafted. Ex-teammates from Collison’s time in Seattle and Oklahoma City are expected to attend the ceremony. When the SuperSonics left Seattle, Collison held down the team and helped Durant develop into the player he is now.

There’s speculation that this return could point to another during free agency. While with the Miami Heat, LeBron James returned to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas‘s jersey retirement ceremony. The next season he was back on the court with the Cavs. But unlike Cleveland, the Thunder have moved on. Russell Westbrook blossemed into a perennial MVP candidate and Paul George resigned with the team and is now having a career-defining year.

While Durant and OKC won’t agree on a deal this offseason, they both agree that Collison was a special player in franchise history.

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