Kevin Durant became the first Seattle player to win the NBA rookie-of-the-year award -- and perhaps the last.
Durant, the national college player of the year at Texas and the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, averaged 20.3 points for the SuperSonics. He was the league’s youngest player at 19.
The SuperSonics have a trial date next month in their bid to move to Oklahoma City.
Durant received 90 first-place votes (545 points) from a panel of 125 writers and broadcasters. Atlanta’s Al Horford finished second with 390 points, and Houston’s Luis Scola was third with 146 points.
“I didn’t think I would get it,” Durant said, “because those other rookies helped their teams get into the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, P.J. Carlesimo will return to coach the SuperSonics next season, said General Manager Sam Presti, ending speculation Carlesimo might be fired after the worst season (20-62) in club history.
Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, confirming his intentions to return next season after being swept out of the playoffs by the Lakers, said he will be tougher on his players.
“I think the players have kind of done it their way more often than doing it my way,” said Karl, who has two years left on his contract. “As an organization, as a coaching staff, as a team, we’re going to have to address that next year.”
New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner insisted the team is not for sale, denying a report that investors were being assembled to buy the franchise and move it to Newark.
Ratner said he still plans to move the Nets to Brooklyn.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported in Thursday editions that New Jersey Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were trying to assemble investors to buy the Nets and move them to Newark from the Izod Center in the Meadowlands.