Durant instead committed to remaining in Oklahoma City that same month, bypassing a big announcement by revealing on Twitter he had agreed to a contract extension.
He may not be able to hide much longer.
A few more performances like he had in the opener - when he scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter of the Thunder's 105-94 victory Tuesday night - and Durant could take his place as the league's biggest star.
Yet he pays no more attention to praise than he does criticism - unless it comes from within his organization.
"I have faith in all those things that I do day in and day out: coming in, working hard, believing in myself and my teammates, and believing in the system. Whatever happens after that, it happens, as long as I know that I come in and give it my all every single day," Durant said. "I can't worry about what other people say or expectations they put on me. It's just all about how I view myself and how my teammates view me, and we'll go from there."
Game 2 is Thursday night, another chance for Durant to build on what's already one of the league's strongest resumés in recent years: three-time scoring champion. MVP of the All-Star Game. MVP of the world basketball championship.
On the floor, his name belongs with James, Wade, Kobe Bryant, or any of the NBA's brightest stars. Away from the court, Durant doesn't seem interested in anything that would force his name into the discussion, with Wade comparing him to San Antonio's Tim Duncan.
Game 1 draws top rating
The series-opener of the NBA Finals between Durant's Thunder and James' Heat was the highest-rated Game 1 ever on ABC.
Citing ratings from Nielsen, the NBA announced Wednesday that the overnight rating of 11.8 was the best for a Finals opener on ABC, two-tenths of a point better than Game 1 of the Detroit-Los Angeles Lakers series in 2004.
ABC started televising the finals in 2003, taking over from NBC.
Celtics' Garnett fined
Celtics star Kevin Garnett has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to make himself available to the media after Boston's loss to Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The fine was announced Wednesday by Stu Jackson, the league's executive vice president for basketball operations.
- Associated Press