From a playing angle Kevin Durant has very few knocks on his game than a lot of players in basketball. Past, present and in the future, it is hard to see past a fluid scorer possessing Center like height and length, Power Forward post game, Small Forward speed and Guard skills.
Recently, the Golden State Warriors caused a stir by stating players don’t want to play with Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James. His reasons behind this statement is purely valid as LeBron’s 16 year tenure in the NBA has shown that players must conform to his style even if it means hurting their stats or changing their status on the roster in the process.
This is true looking at Dwyane Wade accepting a secondary seat and vacating his first leader role at the club. While Kyrie Irving’s stats improved across board playing alongside James for three seasons-Kyrie averaged 25.2 points in his final year with James-Cleveland Cavaliers was no longer his team. However, Durant messed up his chatter by using the word “toxic” which led former NBA player Jalen Rose to say Durant is jealous of LeBron.
There is a lot of validity to Rose’s comment since Durant hasn’t had “his” team in his 12 year stay in the league. The greatest players of all time have players, management and ownership pretty much bend to their will and desire.
Kobe Bryant didn’t want to play with Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers let Shaq go.
Michael Jordan didn’t want to play with Isiah Thomas on the USA Olympic Basketball Team in the 1992 Olympics and it was done. Despite being in the top three spots at his position, Thomas was dropped due to his fractious relationship with Jordan. Magic Johnson didn’t like Paul Westhead’s style of play and Westhead was replaced with Pat Riley. Thanks to LeBron’s recent exploits, many in this generation have been privy to the “King” getting things done his way.
One that quickly comes to mind is supporting JR Smith’s push for a massive contract that ultimately got approved but it has turned out to be a deal Cavs shouldn’t have signed. Having the roster bend to suit its star player is nothing new, so having James lord over the rosters he has been on in his career shouldn’t be classified as a bad thing and especially not toxic. Commanding a team of his own has eluded Durant since entering the league in 2007 and he is equally responsible for that.
At Seattle Supersonics, he was too young to be the team’s leader, at Oklahoma City Thunder, there was Russell Westbrook and at the Warriors had three top personalities in place before he joined in 2016. Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are the main guys in the locker room. Saying Durant is jealous of LeBron because the star Forward has been the main guy wherever he has been is not wrong.
As petty as Durant is-wearing a cap with an NBA title ring on a cupcake on it to mock OKC fans for calling him cupcake after leaving the team months earlier-there is little reason to be jealous of LeBron when it comes to such matters.
For starters, Durant could have had a team of his own if he wanted to two years ago when he left Oklahoma City Thunder. After sacrificing that opportunity for a couple of NBA titles and quite possibly a third title once this season is over, Durant can make his next decision regarding free agency all about him getting a team of his own. Should he sign with New York Knicks, Washington Wizards or Orlando Magic, he instantly takes over the reins of either of these organizations.
Durant’s talent, experience and Championship winning CV puts him ahead of Knick franchise player Kristaps Porzingis. Wizards would have no problem attaching draft picks and young players to get rid of John Wall’s contract and make way for the homeboy. Despite being a dark horse contender, Magic’s chances of getting Durant to sign isn’t negligible considering Orlando offers nice warm weather, a young talented roster and no state taxes. An improper description of a situation has caused a fire storm but at the heart of Kevin Durant’s statement is a perfect assessment on players’ hesitance to play alongside LeBron James.
However, tagging jealousy as the reason behind his comment is a long shot considering he could have received such treatment and a while ago and he still can in a matter of seven months.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter