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.