When NBA fans are asked what they think about Kevin Durant, the opinions are varied. There is little denying that he is one of the best players to ever step foot on the court, but some of the decisions that he has made have certainly rubbed people the wrong way.
Durant was adored in the early part of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was easy to root for him playing for a small market team and trying to put them on the map. When he won the MVP award following the 2013-14 season and delivered that heartfelt speech, it was hard not to be a fan of his.
However, things changed once he hit free agency for the first time. After spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Seattle SuperSonics/Thunder, he decided to change things up.
Durant signed a free agent deal with the Golden State Warriors, a move that disappointed many people. His Thunder had just lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in seven games in the 2016 NBA Playoffs and instead of running it back and trying to beat them, he joined them.
That was a legacy-changing decision for Durant. He would go on to win two titles with Golden State, winning the Finals MVP both times. Golden State needed him to extend their dynasty, but it wasn’t a move that made him very popular.
According to Charles Barkley, many old-school players feel the same way a lot of fans do. Joining a team that had just gone to the NBA Finals two consecutive years was seen as a bit of a copout by some.
“All the old guys, he get mad we say it, (but) he piggybacked on the Warriors to win his first two championships,” Barkley said Thursday. “But if you go back and look at his career, as the best player and being the leader that all goes with that, he’s been an abject failure. Every time he’s had to be the leader and best player, he has not had success. That’s what us old guys think about him.”
Saying it was an abject failure is likely a little harsh. What the Thunder accomplished, making the Western Conference Finals three times and NBA Finals once with Durant on the roster, is pretty good through 27 years old.
Had ownership not made the ill-fated decision to trade James Harden and not pay him, it is hard to imagine the trio of Durant, Harden and Russell Westbrook not having at least one championship together. What Charles Barkley is likely referring to as an abject failure is what has gone on with the Brooklyn Nets.
They have won a single playoff series during his tenure there and Kevin Durant has played in only 90 regular season games in three seasons. Joining the Warriors was a decision that fans lamented and leaving them for the Nets is one that Durant likely feels the same way about.
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