NBA Draft | Sonics pick Durant, trade Ray Allen
The Sonics, picking second today in the NBA Draft, selected Kevin Durant, an 18-year-old, high-scoring forward who played one season at Texas.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Sonics changed the face of their franchise today, selecting Texas freshman Kevin Durant with the No. 2 pick in today's NBA Draft and trading seven-time All-Star guard Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics. The Sonics traded Allen and the No. 35 pick for the Celtics' No. 5 pick, guard Delonte West, forward Wally Szczerbiak and a future second-round pick.
With the fifth pick, the Celtics selected 6-foot-9 Georgetown forward Jeff Green, a player they will send to Seattle in the deal.
The Sonics drafted Purdue forward Carl Landry with the 31st pick, then traded him to the Houston Rockets for a future second-round pick and cash.
Allen's trade ends his 4½-year tenure in Seattle. He arrived in a Feb. 20, 2003 deal with Milwaukee involving Gary Payton.
New Sonics general manager Sam Presti has talked about improving the Sonics' defense since being hired June 7 and his first bold stroke was shipping Allen, Seattle's leading scorer the past four seasons. Picking Durant was the obvious move after Portland took Greg Oden with the No. 1 pick.
"Kevin is a key component to the Sonics becoming a better basketball team," Presti said in a statement. "He is a young man of tremendous character who possesses terrific basketball skills. We look forward to welcoming him to Seattle and preparing him for his rookie season."
Durant earned player-of-the-year honors from The Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the United States Basketball Writers Association, CBS/Chevrolet and The Sporting News. In addition, he was the winner of the Adolph Rupp Trophy, the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to win any of those awards.
"This is a transformative day for the Sonics," owner Clay Bennett said in a statement. "Kevin represents the best basketball has to offer, on and off the court. We are thrilled to welcome him to the team."
In his only season at Texas, the 6-foot-9 Durant earned consensus first-team All-America honors, becoming just the third freshman in NCAA history to do so (Wayman Tisdale in 1983 and Chris Jackson in 1989 were the others).
Durant averaged 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks, setting season, school and Big 12 records for points in a season (903), a total that also ranks as the second-most by a freshman in NCAA history (LSU's Pete Maravich scored 1,138 points in 1968-69). Durant's 390 rebounds were also a Longhorns season record, a mark that ranks second in Big 12 history.
Trading Allen also spells doom for unrestricted free agent Rashard Lewis' chances of returning to Seattle. Lewis opted out of the final two years of his deal and left $21 million on the table.
Bennett said he wanted to re-sign Lewis, but the Sonics are believed to be heading in a different direction and plan to build around Durant.
Durant's selection breaks the Sonics' three-year run of drafting unpolished centers in the first round. Last year, Seattle drafted Mouhamed Sene of Senegal (10th overall), in 2005 took Johan Petro of France (No. 25) and in 2004 drafted high schooler Robert Swift (No. 12).
Presti inherited a 31-51 team that featured two of the league's top 20 scorers in Allen and Lewis. But it was also one of the league's worst defensive teams.
Even though Seattle is the only NBA team without a coach, Presti has begun installing his defensive-minded philosophy and appears to have identified areas where the Sonics' defense needs upgrading.