Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Durant’

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When a beloved, high-profile NBA talent elects to take his talents elsewhere in free agency, they’re mostly met with a barrage of negativity from their former fan base and media for a business decision they had every right to make.

But when management moves a player who had every intention to stay around for the long haul, there’s not nearly as much outrage, if any.

All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas feels as such about his move to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas said he hopes his trade from the Boston Celtics will open up eyes about the double standard, while using Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors as a prime example to support the other side.

“I actually think this was a good lesson,” Thomas wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “Not only for me, but for the league as a whole. And for the fans and the media, too, you know, just in terms of how they talk about guys changing teams.

“I was thinking about that last year with KD and his free agency – about how people gave him such a hard time for doing what he felt was best for him and his future. How they turned him into a villain, just for doing what was his right to do as a free agent in this league. Suddenly, it was, ‘Oh, he’s selfish,’ or, ‘Oh, he’s a coward.’ Suddenly, just for doing business on his end, and doing right by himself, he was portrayed as this bad guy.”

Thomas added that the pain of being shipped off by the Celtics still lingers to this day, and that loyalty is really “just a word” if players who displayed his level of commitment can be sent packing.

“I want them to see how my getting traded – just like that, without any warning – by the franchise that I scratched and clawed for, and bled for, and put my everything on the line for? That’s why people need to fix their perspective,” Thomas wrote.

“It’s like, man – with a few exceptions, unless we’re free agents, 99 times out of 100, it’s the owners with the power. So when players are getting moved left and right, and having their lives changed without any say-so, and it’s no big deal … but then the handful of times it flips, and the player has control … then it’s some scandal? Just being honest, but – to me, that says a lot about where we are as a league, and even as a society. And it says a lot about how far we still have to go.”

Nonetheless, Thomas says there’s “no hard feelings” with Boston, although he’s still hopeful the basketball world will look at what happened to him and perhaps think twice the next time it wants to pile on a departing free agent.

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Kevin Durant is sticking by his most memorable tweet.

Durant reiterated on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” that he would still drink actress Scarlett Johansson’s bathwater if given the chance. He first shared that thought back in 2011 in a tweet that was shared over 52,000 times.

“I hope she was aware of it,” Durant said of his proclamation. “It is strange now because it made me look crazy, but now it made me look real cool because I would.”

“I actually love Scarlett Johansson, and I would do that. And she’s single now from what I heard.”

Johansson is not single as she’s reportedly dating comedian Colin Jost, but that’s mostly besides the point, which is that Durant is super creepy.

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Kevin Durant thinks his apparent beef with Russell Westbrook is overblown.

The Golden State Warriors forward revealed that while he and Westbrook no longer talk, he doesn’t believe their friendship has taken a huge hit over the last year.

“I don’t think we ever stopped being friends,” Durant said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “We just stopped talking – but I don’t think we stopped being friends.”

Durant’s relationship with Westbrook reportedly took a turn for the worse after he signed with the Golden State Warriors last summer. Westbrook reportedly responded to the move by deleting the 6-foot-9 forward’s goodbye text, leading Durant to admit their relationship would never “be the same again.”

Despite what the rest of the NBA world may think, Durant doesn’t believe there’s any animosity between him and his former teammate at the moment.

“(We’re) not talking, nah, but I mean, I don’t think any … there’s no problems,” Durant said. “But I don’t think we ever stopped being friends.”

Durant did his best to squash the supposed beef earlier this offseason, congratulating Westbrook after the 6-foot-3 guard took home MVP honors.

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Kevin Durant knows all about making unpopular decisions, about prioritizing personal well-being when choosing one’s career path, and about facing the public blowback that often accompanies those choices.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Durant empathizes with Kyrie Irving, and respects Irving’s decision to force his way out of Cleveland, out of LeBron James‘ shadow, and into a new situation with the Boston Celtics – despite the fact that he’d gone to three straight Finals with James and the Cavaliers.

“He did what he was supposed to do in Cleveland. It’s on to the next chapter,” Durant said of Irving on Thursday’s edition of The Bill Simmons Podcast, using a conspicuously familiar idiom.

“I can really appreciate what he did. He stood up for himself. He showed a lot of courage, because it’s hard to take that type of criticism when you just want to play ball.”

Durant, who has said he made “the 100 percent correct decision” signing with the Golden State Warriors last summer, understands why Irving was keen to get out of Cleveland, especially given all the rumors about James’ planned departure after this season.

“When you’re around LeBron James, there’s so much that comes with that,” Durant said. “There’s so much outside distraction and conversations and just noise that comes from being around LeBron James. And Kyrie’s at the point like, ‘Alright, we lost the championship, this whole season’s gonna be about if LeBron’s gonna leave or not. I’m ready for a new challenge.’

“It just felt like he wanted a situation where he could just be free from all of that, and just play. And it’s a perfect system for him in Boston.”

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Led by Russell Westbrook‘s triple-double tear for the ages, the Oklahoma City Thunder fared quite well in their first season without former NBA MVP Kevin Durant, winning 47 games and advancing to the playoffs, though they did get bounced in the opening round.

Nonetheless, the Thunder are well equipped to return to prominence in the Western Conference in 2017-18 after acquiring Paul George. Along with Westbrook and center Steven Adams, Oklahoma City has an elite Big 3 at its disposal that Durant isn’t exactly looking forward to battling with the Golden State Warriors.

“But they got Russ and PG and Steven Adams to be their Big 3. I think if they feed off each other, it could be great,” Durant told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “I’m a fan of the game. So I can see if something is going to work or not and I think that’s going to be a really, really great pairing. It’s going to suck for us and the rest of the league. But as a fan of the game, it’s going to be tight to see how they work that thing out.”

The West in general has undergone a major transformation in a short period of time. The Houston Rockets landed Chris Paul to play alongside James Harden, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a huge splash to acquire Jimmy Butler, and Paul Millsap signed with the rising Denver Nuggets. That doesn’t even take into account the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Clippers, who won’t be easy outs themselves.

Golden State won 67 games in 2016-17, and lost just once en route to its second title in three years. Durant realizes it’s going to be much more difficult to replicate that level of success in the revamped West, yet he’s ready to face that challenge head on.

“It is a new landscape. And I like it. I don’t know how it’s going to work together, but I can’t wait to see it all. It’s going to be fun every night,” he added. “You’re going to see what you’re supposed to be seeing, not a bunch of dudes you know aren’t good on the court. There’s going to be a bunch of talent on the floor, top to bottom.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo may have “loyalty inside his DNA,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean the 22-year-old phenom will remain in Milwaukee for the entirety of his career.

The Bucks forward was non-committal when asked about his future in Milwaukee, saying that many players have expressed their desire to stay in a particular city before bolting for greener pastures.

“A lot of people say they’re going to stay on a team and decide to move to a different team,” Giannis said at a recent event in Manila, Philippines. “But you guys got to remember: A guy might want to stay on a team, but the team doesn’t do the right things and the right moves for the player to become great.”

The 2017 All-Star added that Kevin Durant gave every indication that he planned to stay with the Thunder, but ultimately left Oklahoma City after the team failed to win a title.

“KD, the reason he wanted to stay in OKC was to win, right? So, they didn’t win the championship,” Giannis said. “That’s why he decided to leave. So do not hate only the player, because sometimes it’s not up to the player.”

While Giannis’ comments may be a little unsettling for Bucks fans, the 6-foot-11 forward still has four years remaining on his contract, and he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2021.

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Golden State Warriors star and reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant is making his way to India next Thursday.

“I’m excited to travel to India to help promote the game of basketball and meet the prospects at the NBA Academy India,” Durant told ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “I’ve wanted to visit India for a long time, and I can’t wait to experience the country’s unique culture and share my knowledge with the kids there.”

As part of his journey, Durant will arrive in New Delhi and donate two basketball courts to the Ramjas School on behalf of his charity, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.

He’ll then host a massive youth basketball clinic in Noida at the NBA Academy, with roughly 5,000 male and female kids from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program slated to participate.

“We are thrilled to host 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant in India,” said NBA India’s managing director Yannick Colaco. “Kevin is coming off a historic season with the Golden State Warriors. Having one of the very best players in our league interact with the basketball-playing youth of India will serve as great inspiration to the next generation of players here, especially the high-performing prospects at the NBA Academy India.”