HOUSTON – The Warriors have been spending the past few weeks throwing every rose petal they can find at the feet of Kevin Durant. You know he sees her. They do not know if he bothers them to sniff them. They do not know if their efforts are influential.
The educated guess is not.
It did not affect Durant's free agency before the Squabble in Staples and it certainly will not now that Draymond Green has set these rose petals on fire.
Durant is a flattery of people outside the NBA community and those he loves and respects outside of basketball. Sure, he got excited in July of 2016 when he set up camp at The Hamptons and invited a procession of visitors to bring their most compelling stories. At that time he wanted to feel the power that mountains have come to Muhammad.
He does not want it and will not need it next time, 2019. Durant's next move will be much less about what someone says and much more about what he wants to do.
He'll look for something deeper and more important than being reminded of his size or even winning basketball games. He will know with the utmost certainty that a friend's face can change on a whim when a grown man exercises his freedom.
Durant experienced this process with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. He goes with Green through the second round. Westbrook's use of "cupcake" to describe Durant was a euphemism for "soft." Green does not make euphemisms. According to several sources, he called Durant a "slut". The same.
Westbrook was unloaded because Durant had left. Green discharged because he could go. So Durant is again dealing with friend-foe-friend-enemy-stuff, which is generally limited to teens with angry hormones. This is not a game he likes to play.
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At this point, we would like to point out that Durant never criticized Westbrook's me-first tendencies, even though others have pointed out that Durant was thundered. Durant did not indulge in the story, though that was important to most accounts.
Durant left OKC less, looking for something better than looking for something more. He came to the warriors, hoping to play entertaining and intelligent basketball with his teammates in a region that offered more. This was a test for himself to see if the experience was as good as he had imagined. And sometimes it was like that.
Other times it was not. Durant experienced some unfortunate moments last spring that were most visible during the Western Conference finals against the Rockets. Some of the advice from coach Steve Kerr came as a criticism. Green, always vocal, reminded Durant hard that he had played the sort of isolation basketball the warriors would rather avoid.
Green was not wrong The Rockets did a great job jamming the Warriors' offensive circles that Durant covered for the one-on-one ball that made up most of his time in OKC. He did something he wanted to leave behind.
Now that. Well, Green, who originally recruited Durant for the Warriors, tells Durant that he is soft and, according to the sources, is expendable.
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Durant admits he mistreated his departure from OKC. He bypassed the politeness of contacting Westbrook, to whom he had been close. Durant regrets that he did not say goodbye to personal decency.
Durant is now vilified every time warriors play the Thunder in Oklahoma. The fans who worshiped him turned against him because he again exercised his freedom to choose another employer.
More than two years later, Durant still tends to personal projects in OKC. He left the place but never stopped supporting him.
If Durant leaves the Warriors and is practically expected, he still has connections to the Bay Area. And the fans do not feel as abandoned as those in Oklahoma.
For Warriors fans, Durant knew he was a luxury. The warriors were tall before he arrived, but his presence showed the likelihood of a dynasty. This was certainly Stephen Curry's team, but Durant was the ultimate collaborator.
And now that Durant is so keen on trying the ball in the final seconds of a game in November, there's a break inside. Durant clapped and called for the ball. Green, so to speak, struck back and became nuclear.
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Green says that he will be the occasionally caustic vocal presence he always was, and if Durant left, they would have made history.
Durant says he never wants to be asked about his relationship with Green, all he wants to do is talk about his relationship with Westbrook.
Durant did not come to the warriors because of the drama. He got a lot of grief and condemnation for leaving the thunder, and got another charge for joining the warriors.
And now, even as a highly successful warrior, does he get it from a teammate?
Durant, even as Warriors manager Rosebuds in an attempt to trick him, put him in front of him can not possibly be satisfied.