By Will Stevenson
Kevin Durant broke the internet yesterday. There I was, waking up out of my slumber, lighter in one hand ready to light up my black and mild, but then I had a second thought; I should check the net to see what KD’s decision was. Now before I go into that, I never thought there ever was a decision to make. I just figured he would reup with OKC for one more year and go out in style with Russell Westbrook before the empire of OKC would begin to crumble into the abyss. For some strange reason, I bought into all of the noise that was pumped through the airwaves for the past few weeks. KD isn’t going to leave Russ when all they were so close to finals just a weeks ago, and there’s no way he would choose a team like the Warriors that sent them packing after their Game 7 loss.
“Kevin Durant has decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors.”
We did not see that coming but we should have. One of my favorite shows to listen to on ESPN Radio is the Dan Lebetard Show with Stugotz, and a few years ago as Lebron was approaching the end in Miami, Stugotz had hilariously laid out the “Phases” on why Lebron would leave.
1. Mike Miller being released
Now, these things sound amateur to most, but Stugotz was right, he left Miami to return to Cleveland. Now if we could go back just for a second, we might see that Kevin Durant was going to leave OKC.
Now, I think we are surprised because we thought Kevin Durant was different, we thought he was one of us. We saw KD quietly sign his extension and mocking Lebron back in 2010, we saw the tweets that claimed he was all about competition, but that was years ago. Durant has been in the league for nine seasons. With that foot injury last season, there’s no guarantee that the chance to win a title will always be there. He and Russ were up against it every single season while the salary cap minimized their chances to gain pieces. Competition is all fine when you are 24 or 25, but once you’re coming up on 10 years in the league, some things have to change. With the cap skyrocketing this offseason, it felt certain Durant would return to the Thunder for one more year to battle it out one last time, but we were wrong. Durant had to choose between doing this all over again or stepping out for a new challenge that would increase his chances at a championship ring. Why not? The Thunder had an opportunity of a lifetime against the Warriors and they let it slip away, just like Lebron and the Cavs against Boston. Lebron was tired of losing while being so close, and I assume Durant was feeling the same way. Now Lebron didn’t have a Westbrook, but if Westbrook wasn’t going to stick around in OKC after next year then why should he stick around. Durant went through two coaches, Scot Brooks and Billy Donovan, and we can all say there wan’t much of a difference between the two teams: KD iso, KD high post, KD pull up… Russ Iso, Russ mid-range jumper, Russ fastbreak, Russ pull-up contested-3pt. Maybe that was part of his decision. He literally watched a team with less stars beat him with team basketball. Durant had front row seats to one of the best offenses we’ve seen in this era; the ball movement, off the ball movement, switching, cutting, wide open shots, everything. Durant had Russ to pass to, and that was about it, and that was the problem; He had to go to a team that was an all-around team.
Sometimes you need a change, and sometimes you just want to have fun. We always claim basketball is just a game and loaded teams aren’t what we want, but it is what we watch. We hate loaded teams so much that we started cheering for Lebron just to see the Warriors lose. We talk about “ringzzzzzzzz” and daface every player of importance and call them chokers among other names until they get that championship, and even then we still discuss the immediate “status” of that championship. Did we not just go through this with Lebron? Who are we to be objective about our athletes?
Go ahead Durant, do your thing. I’m glad you did what you did and when you did it. With the cap going up, you had a chance to go anywhere in the league and you made your choice. I won’t devalue your abilities as a player or your stature as a man. You are not weak, you are not soft. We forget about Michael Jordan before the triangle and Phil. We forget Stockton and Malone are not revered. We forget Dominique Wilkins played for the Clippers. We forget Clyde Drexler left the Blazers to win with the Rockets. We forget Barkley and Pippen went to the Rockets but never won with them. We forget Garry Payton won with Miami. We forget Karl Malone chased a ring with the Lakers. We forget Kobe was going to be trade to the Bulls for Ben Gordon, Lou Deng and some picks. We forget David Stern nixed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers to restore the Kobe, again. We forget David West took a 10 million dollar pay cut to join Spurs and did not win a title. We forget KG and Ray Allen were traded to the Celtics to help Paul Pierce. We forget Ray Allen jumped ship to play for the Heat. We forget Pierce and Garnett jumped a sinking ship in Boston to play for the Brooklyn Nets, failing miserably. We forget Shaq chased a ring in Cleveland.
I guess all of these guys are weak. Bunch of Ring-Chasers.