Kevin Durant met with Bay Area media Monday for Warriors media day and was asked about the significance of the players’ sales pitch to Durant last July, which swayed him to join the super team and abandon Oklahoma City. Durant glowed about the Warriors’ pitch, and specifically “what they’re about:”
“It really matters,” he said. “You want to know what they’re about. I’m at the point in my life now I can kind of figure out what they’re about. And what they stand for, just by talking with them, and sitting down and talking with (general manager) Bob (Myers) and the rest of the guys, for a couple of hours, showed me all I need to know.”
It’s an interesting quote, mostly for what it says about the Thunder. Durant saying this makes it seem like whatever the Thunder “are about” wasn’t good enough for him. It’s a little strange, given that the Thunder have a good reputation for treating their players well and putting them first. Their whole thing for years has been about the culture of the organization. And Durant was a part of that, a prophet of that value. Just read the transcript of his MVP speech.
But whatever magical dust the Warriors sprinkled in that meeting must have been some powerful stuff, because Durant walked out and burned the bridges behind him. The Thunder have been polite far and wide in their discussions of Durant, with GM Sam Presti saying the city should be “thankful” for what Durant gave them. Those relationships are likely gone forever. Amazing, considering what Durant said in that speech.
Also of note, Durant was asked if the Warriors had won the title instead of losing after being up 3-1 with the unanimous MVP, if his decision had been different. His response:
They didn’t, so I don’t even want to talk about it. But the sales pitch was great. I wouldn’t even call it a sales pitch. They came in the room and they were open and honest about where they were. And it drew me towards them and they know who I am.
It’s interesting that Durant wouldn’t answer either way. “It wouldn’t have changed my decision” is the easy answer, because it means he doesn’t care about public perception. But instead, by not answering, he opens up the possibility that he didn’t want to be seen as jumping on a bandwagon and their loss did indeed open the door for him to make this bold leap. It doesn’t confirm it, it just doesn’t eliminate it.
Either way, Durant said six times in three questions that he’s “excited” to join the Warriors and now the part that could be much easier has arrived: winning games with the most stacked team in the league.
Courtesy: CBS Sports