The Dallas Morning News said this morning that a sneaker deal could be deciding factor if Durant stays in school or declares for the draft.
Word is Kobe Bryant has already called Kevin Durant on behalf of Nike and that a shoe deal ranging between $30 million and $50 million simply needs to be presented.
Last Thursday, Texas coach Rick Barnes was taunted by a friend in Spokane, Wash., who said during a shoot-around that there's no way Durant comes back for his sophomore year. Barnes replied, "I'll bet you a steak dinner he does come back."
But if Texas' 18-year-old prodigy turns down life in the NBA to take biology and travel to Manhattan, Kan., instead of taking leather-couch charters to Madison Square Garden and Staples Center next season, we will all be witnesses to a minor miracle.
Even Taras Brown, the man who sculpted Durant's game back in Seat Pleasant, Md., and the man Durant calls his godfather, said a potential shoe deal – not Durant's draft placement – would be what shoves Durant to the NBA.
"Kevin will go two or three years at Texas, if he could," Brown said before the season. "It won't be because Kevin Durant or [Ohio State's] Greg Oden want to go. The shoe companies will make them an offer where it's impossible not to go."
It seems rather odd to me that players like Kobe and shoe companies can approach these kids and pressure them and if GM's just mention that they are good prospects or even innocently sit next to their parents at a game they are fined.
On the other side, Mike Conley, Sr, the father of Greg Oden's best friend and Oden's coach in the summer time, has formed an agency to represent players. This could be the signal that Oden is also preparing to come out. Stay tuned. Things are heating up.