It must be the summer of 2016 as the Kevin Durant rumors are heating up and the Warriors are on the table again it seems.
According to reports, Durant’s market is still taking shape. Nothing is set in stone, but the fact that the Warriors were one of the first teams to be rumored speaks volumes about their level of interest. People are already talking about how the Warriors could deliver one of the best trade packages. Analysts are already speaking out that players like Jordan Poole, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga aren’t worth trading. So while most NBA fans would like to believe that KD at the Warriors couldn’t happen again, the basics are there. But why would KD ever want to return to Golden State?
Does he really want to win another championship at this point? Like yes, it’s a big prize, but Durant already had the opportunity to win more championships with Golden State when he entered free agency after the 2018 season. Yes, he was injured, but he could have stay with the Warriors, and then when he, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson regained their health, they could have continued on their merry way and won a few more titles. But Durant wanted to prove he could lead a team to a title on his own. He has constantly said shit to the Warriors since leaving, saying the Warriors were “never a winning team before [Durant] signed there,” although the Warriors had won a title and 73 straight games before Durant signed there. There were also several reports that KD was jealous of Steph Curry during his time with the Warriors, citing that Golden State fans would always choose Steph over him. Durant never felt like it was his team. KD has since repelled against this narrative, claiming it was wrong and “just the media trying to get something started”. However, between the statements he’s made since leaving the Warriors and the videos circulating on the internet showing him arguing with Draymond Green on the field, it’s hard to believe there’s no not at least a grain of truth in these rumors.
Hell, after the Warriors won the 2022 NBA title, it took Durant a while to congratulate his former team. As Curry lifted his first-ever NBA Finals MVP trophy, Durant displayed Instagram stories about Drake’s latest album. It took Durant nearly 24 hours to acknowledge the Warriors’ accomplishment on social media, and when he finally congratulated them, it was in response to a disgruntled fan claiming Durant’s legacy was officially dead.
I don’t need to argue that Durant’s legacy is not dead. This is clearly not the case. If so, the Warriors wouldn’t care to bring him back for a second round. He is still arguably the greatest pure goalscorer of all time. However, after Steph and company won another title without Durant — proving the Warriors don’t need Durant as much as he needs them — a move to Golden State would only highlight the points Durant was trying to make. fight since leaving the Bay Area.
1) It will always be Steph’s team. Regardless if Durant came back to score 35 goals per game and win the second unanimous MVP, fans and the front office will always appreciate Steph over Durant for what Curry was able to do before and after Durant was his teammate. .
2) Durant left Golden State to prove he didn’t need it. When Durant first arrived in the Bay Area, there was an argument that the Warriors needed Durant to win. They had just blown a 3-1 lead over LeBron and the Cavs, and maybe Durant was the missing piece they needed. This argument does not work this time. The Warriors just made it through the playoffs without even being forced into a Game 7 situation.
Despite Durant’s claims that he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of his legacy, Durant clearly does. He spends much of his time scrolling through Twitter arguing with strangers and/or basketball alumni trying to justify every decision he’s made in his career. Durant’s legacy isn’t dead, but he certainly wouldn’t be helped by a decision to return to the team he left in order to prove he didn’t need it. I know Durant’s move this time would be on a trade, so Durant won’t have as much of a say in his next team as he did in 2016. However, if Durant really didn’t want to go to Golden State, he could just threaten a sit-out if traded there. He has the star power and the market to do so, and given the hit his legacy could take with another move to Golden State, that might be his best course of action. In his interview on Draymond Green’s show Fleas, KD said he has no regrets about leaving the Warriors. To return to the team in any capacity, let alone after winning another championship without him, would require the opposite.
If Durant wants to be talked about in the same sentence as LeBron or MJ, he can’t join the team that just won its fourth NBA title in eight years. Join the Suns. Join the Bucks. Join anyone but Golden State.