Durant recalls tanking, gives Sixers advice

Thunder forward Kevin Durant during his rookie season with the Sonics. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

MANCHESTER, England – The 76ers should seek out Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant following Tuesday’s preseason game at Manchester Arena.

The NBA all-star can tell his opponents about spending his rookie season on a team in tank mode.

The Thunder were the Seattle SuperSonics before relocating to Oklahoma in 2008. The team reshuffled the roster heading into its final season in Seattle.

The Sonics selected Kevin Durant out of Texas with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft.

“It was tough for me especially coming in as a young player,” Durant said of his rookie season.  “I thought I was going to play with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis when they were all-star every year.”

But the Sonics traded Allen and Glen Davis to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West a month after drafting Durant. Then in July 2007, the Sonics conducted a sign-and-trade that sent Lewis to the Orlando Magic for a future second-round pick and a $9.5 million trade exception. They used the pick, another second-round pick, and the exception to acquire Kurt Thomas and two first-round picks from the Phoenix Suns.

“Every game it was tough knowing that it was going to be hard for us to win,” Durant said. “But what we did was come in and work hard every day, and know that it was going to be a process and maybe a tough year.”

The Sonics lost their first eight games and went 3-14 through the first month of the 2007-08 season. They finished with the second worst record (20-62) behind the Miami Heat (15-67).

“You just have to keep pushing through it,” said Durant, giving advice to the Sixers.

Follow Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers