Hey Kevin Durant, the night man from the Hotel California would like a word with you: You can check out of the Golden State any time you like, but you can never leave. It’s going on 11 months since Durant forced his passage from the Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets and it seems he has…Kevin Durant gone from the Warriors, far from forgotten — Times-Standard
Hey Kevin Durant, the night man from the Hotel California would like a word with you:
You can check out of the Golden State any time you like, but you can never leave.
It’s going on 11 months since Durant forced his passage from the Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets and it seems he has never left. During that time he has rehabilitated his torn Achilles tendon. He has (presumably) bonded with his new besties. He has mused about representing the United States in the 2020 Olympics in Japan (when that was still a thing). He revealed that before the 2015-16 season he intended to bolt the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors because his game was growing and “I didn’t play with a lot of skill guys.”
What Durant has not done in the interim: play in an official game, disengage from former teammate Draymond Green, and shaken the dust off his Warriors’ tenure.
Give you an example: Recently the San Francisco Chronicle excerpted a new book, “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty,” authored by Ethan Strauss, who has covered the team for ESPN, and most recently, The Athletic.
The excerpts, to say the least, feed into the narrative that Durant is sensitive and thin-skinned.
From the book:
“KD … accused me of trying to ‘rile up Steph’s fans. He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local (reporters) just wanted to kiss Steph’s ass at (Durant’s) expense. This was KD’s consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans on Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense. In one such exchange that foreshadowed things to come, he was asked by the WarriorsWorld account whether two-time MVP Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving was the better player. ‘I gotta really sit down and analyze it,’ (Durant) said.”
In fairness, Durant was in the spotlight his entire time with the Warriors, and was a target for fans and NBA players who believed he “broke the NBA” when he joined up with the dynastic Warriors. He didn’t ask for that. But he seemed incapable of ignoring the noise.
The Chron’s post included an exchange between Durant and Connor Letourneau, the newspaper’s Warriors beat reporter who had appeared on a podcast of which Durant was made aware. Again, the encounter fed into the KD scouting report — seemingly seeking validation.
“I’m just standing in the locker room near the door, on my phone and he is walking out of the locker room and he stops and he looks at me and he just goes, ‘Have I been good to you?,’” Letourneau told Strauss. “I’m like, ‘What do you mean have you been good to me?’ And he just keeps repeating himself over and over, ‘Have I been good to you? Have I been good to you?’ He’s kind of creeping towards me, and I have no idea what he’s upset about at this point. I have no idea what’s going on.”
Finally, over the weekend Warriors GM Bob Myers who has been watching “The Last Dance,” the story of the Michael Jordan Bulls, couldn’t help but see parallels between the Bulls and the the Warriors — starting with two great teams trying to mesh strong personalities, and navigate the grind of high-stakes competition.
“The second (NBA title) with Kevin it felt like, ‘Well, we just did what we were supposed to do, and great job,” Myers told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “It wasn’t joy. I’m sure a lot of people felt differently. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. I think there’s just a weight to everything.”