The once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t land even a courtesy meeting with the NBA’s marquee free agent this summer.
For Kevin Durant, it just wasn’t worth his time to sit down with the Purple and Gold.
Per the LA Daily News:
Kevin Durant did not grant the Lakers a meeting at all namely because he figured it would be a waste of time. […] “Nothing against the Lakers, but I already had my mind set on who I wanted to talk to,” Durant said following practice with the U.S. Olympic team on Monday at UNLV. “I really respect their team. I just thought they were a couple years away from where I wanted to be.”
Nonetheless, Durant’s apathy toward the Lakers arguably validates his contention that Kobe Bryant received unfair criticism about his presence deterring free agents. Concerns arose about the size of Bryant’s contract (two years, $48 million), his durability (three season-ending injuries in recent years) and personality.
“I just like having the back of our players in this league,” Durant said, referring toward defending Bryant. “That’s who I am. I respect every player. If you come to me to say anybody bad about any player in this league, I’m going to disagree. It’s a brotherhood and I respect every guy in this league. So you can’t get me to talk to you about anybody else in a negative manner. That’s just me.”