In his most candid remarks since leaving OKC this summer, Kevin Durant says he lost faith in the organization’s commitment to winning big in the NBA.
Durant laments that the Thunder were trending younger instead of adding dependable vets for Playoff battles.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 19, 2016
Durant realized that he couldn’t get over the hump with just Russell Westbrook, and decided to bolt.
Per Rolling Stone:
He was the semper fi soldier two years later when management traded away James Harden, his friend and co-superstar. And he held his tongue when, summer after summer, the Thunder declined to add a proven third option – think Ray Allen in Boston, or (Kevin) Love in Cleveland. “Where other teams went out and got that veteran guy, we kept getting younger,” he says with a sigh, pushing around a sausage link with his fork. Apparently it’s exhausting, even in memory, to carry a team on your back.
Though he’s too shrewd to say it, that series of betrayals eventually broke his heart. “For nine years, he refused to speak a word against that team – he loved those guys and that city,” says his mom, Wanda Durant, who’s been his best friend and confidante since he started his b-ball journey at the age of eight. “But this summer he said, ‘Mama, I can’t do it anymore. They’re not in this thing with me, we’re not together like we were – I feel like I need something different.’ “
Durant had wanted that (Game 6 of the WCF) so bad, he did something he never did: let himself savor winning before it happened: “Man, I saw us in the ball caps and T-shirts, with our fans going crazy and dancing. That town was so good to us, showed us love even when we lost. I wanted it more for them than even me.” He went home crushed, replaying his every miss – and there’d been plenty. He acquitted himself better in Game Seven, but Westbrook was strictly on fumes then. Some part of Durant knew he’d already punched his ticket. “It felt like that whole thing was set up for me to leave,” he says, “especially after they blew a lead in the finals, because I damn sure wasn’t going there if they’d won. But after Game Seven, I called up my agent and said, ‘Damn, dude, Golden State – what if?‘ “