There are eight more days until the Golden State Warriors play basketball again after they swept the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.
That layoff leaves a lot of time for star players like Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins to try and rehab back from their injuries to be ready for the NBA Finals, but also leaves a lot of time for people to talk about Durant’s favorite thing in the world, his future. There’s nothing that’s been more frustrating to Durant this season than the constant chatter about where he’ll be playing next season. He’s chirped back at reporters for writing columns about it and outright refused to talk for more than a week to avoid questions about it, but still, it remains a major story whether he wants it to be or not.
That’s the territory that comes with being arguably the league’s best player. People are very interested and invested in where you’re going to be playing next because it has the chance of shifting the balance of power in the NBA. Durant doesn’t appreciate that aspect of the job, but it’s one he has to deal with nonetheless.
While his impending free agency has been a thorn in his side all year, his injury has brought new frustration to his world and that of the Warriors. Golden State rattled off five straight wins without Durant, looking like the 2016 Warriors in the process as Stephen Curry erupted for 33 points or more in all five games to close out the Rockets and Blazers respectively. That sparked chatter about whether the Warriors actually need Durant, whether they’re more fun without him, and, at least in the case of Chris Broussard, whether his championship rings carry an asterisk with them.
The Fox Sports 1 analyst said this Warriors winning streak without him was KD’s worst nightmare and cited some around the league who now firmly believe Durant’s titles deserve an asterisk for him joining a team already capable of winning a title without him. Durant, unsurprisingly and understandably, took great exception to that. The result has been a back-and-forth feud on Twitter that has included Broussard claiming the two have had worse spats in “texts,” while Durant insisted Broussard didn’t have his number.
Broussard then explained he meant DMs, which aren’t technically texts but anyone that knows someone over 40 knows they’re all the same at that point. On Thursday, Broussard returned to Undisputed to further explain his side of the story and insisted he was telling the truth, saying if anything he’s said has been a lie, then they should fire him.
This came after Broussard made a video of him in his car explaining he has many DMs from KD from the last year in conversations that have spanned many hours, while insisting he’ll “pray” for Durant.
It’s all very bizarre, but at the same time par for the course with Durant. He has every right not to be happy with Broussard’s reporting and the “you don’t have my number” was a pretty great “gotcha” even though I very much believe Broussard meant DMs all along — again, everything is a text to folks of a certain generation. It’s extremely KD to end up being in headlines for a Twitter feud following one of the best postseason runs of his career that was cut short due to an injury he is still rehabbing.
There’s an incredibly relatable element to Durant responding to reports like this, in that one would always want to push back against the idea that he’s not invested in the team’s success because it may not look great for his individual accolades. Still, his teammates, throughout his absence, have done a great job making sure everyone knows they want him back and feel they need him for the Finals, which is what he should point to and, more than anything, let those comments speak for themselves rather than trying to defend himself.
It’s an understandable and somewhat natural reaction, but one that keeps causing him to be in headlines for all the reasons he hates.