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Remember how excited Wizards fans were when people started talking about Washington, D.C. as one of Kevin Durant’s potential landing spots during free agency last summer? As far back as 2014—two full years before he was set to become a free agent—KD was getting asked about the likelihood of him coming back and playing in the area where he grew up. LeBron James leaving the Heat to return to Cleveland that summer only served to the amplify the hope that surrounded the Wizards fanbase.
As it turned out, though, KD never really even gave the Wizards a chance to sell themselves to the superstar when he actually became a free agent last July. He didn’t accept an invitation to meet with the team in free agency, which was odd when you consider just how hopeful Washington was to land his services in the years leading up to his old contract with the Thunder running out. And he ultimately decided to sign with the Warriors without giving the Wizards a shot.
KD has never really spoken about why he decided against playing with the Wizards, but with the Warriors set to travel to Washington on Tuesday for a game, he finally broke his silence during a recent interview with the Washington Post. And according to what KD said during that interview, he decided against playing in D.C. because he felt he had already done everything he set out to do in the city during his younger years. So returning home would have amounted to him regressing in life rather than moving forward.
"I don’t want to open up anything in the past, but I really just didn’t want to play at home," he said. "It was nothing about the fans. Being at home, I was so happy with that part of my life—playing at home, being in front of friends, hanging with friends and family every day. That was a part of my life that has come and gone…I was like, I’m trying to build a second part of my life as a man living in a different part of the country, just trying to do different things. I did everything I was supposed to do in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, I felt. Now it’s time to do something new. I didn’t want to come back. That’s just my thought process behind it. It had nothing to do with basketball, the fans, the city. It was just like, 'All right, that part of my life I’ve conquered already. What’s next?'"
Wizards fans can’t be all that surprised to hear KD say any of this. Reports that came out back in April 2016 revealed he wasn’t "all that keen" on signing with Washington. And of course, who can forget when KD called the Wizards and their fans "disrespectful" for openly trying to recruit him to come to Washington? But still, KD saying, "I didn’t want to come back," has to sting just a little. Especially after all the excitement that surrounded KD and the Wizards back in 2014.