Free agent-to-be Kevin Durant says he likes Boston a lot
This summer, Kevin Durant will be the NBA’s most coveted free agent since LeBron James two years ago, and he has offered no hint about his future plans.
While the Celtics, who will have the salary-cap space to pursue Durant, are a long shot to land him, the Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star had nothing but good things to say about the city Wednesday morning.
“I like the city a lot,” said Durant, whose Thunder face the Celtics at TD Garden Wednesday night. “It’s cold, but they love sports here. It’s a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city, so yeah, I like it a lot.”
Because of injury, Durant hasn’t played in TD Garden since he scored 29 points in a 108-100 loss to the Celtics on Nov. 23, 2012. That wasn’t lost on him Wednesday.
“It’s been a while, right?” he said. “Before this game, I was hoping everything goes well our last game so I can finally play here.
“It’s been three years since I played here, so I’m really looking forward to it. Some of the best fans in the world, and they definitely support their team, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Durant noticed that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were lauded with video montages upon their return to Boston in January 2014, and he was moved by the fans’ appreciation of them.
He also has noticed the success of the current team. He is expected to be defended by Marcus Smart, whom Durant kept close tabs on when Smart was at Oklahoma State.
“Marcus Smart is a terrific competitor,” Durant said. “He plays hard, a little guy that can defend three positions. I got my work cut out for me. I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve been watching this team a lot. They’re scrappy. They play hard. They love their coach. They love their system, and especially in this building, they play with a lot of energy. So it’s going to be a tough test.”
Thunder at a glance
■ When, where: Wednesday, 7 p.m., at TD Garden.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Scoring: Kevin Durant 28.0, Russell Westbrook 24.0, Serge Ibaka 12.7.
■ Rebounding: Durant 8.2, Enes Kanter 7.7, Westbrook 7.6.
■ Assists: Westbrook 10.4, Durant 4.8, Dion Waiters 1.9, Cameron Payne 1.9, D.J. Augustin 1.9.
■ Head to head: This is the second of two meetings. The Celtics won the first, 100-85, Nov. 15.
■ Miscellany: Waiters (death in the family) is questionable to play . . . Durant, who has won four NBA scoring titles in the last seven years, is third in the league this year . . . Westbrook is second in the league (behind Rajon Rondo) in assists.