The Kevin Durant decision has too many components of intrigue to count, and millions of words have been dumped onto the Internet about his decision process. Morons complain that he’s gaming the system by creating a too-easy path to the NBA title — as if there is such a thing — but to hear it from the Warriors who recruited KD, they sold him on the camaraderie and team atmosphere he would experience in chasing a ring.
Now, a feature from ESPN’s Royce Young throws that into stark contrast with the Thunder’s attempt to keep Durant in the fold. It started with a dinner hosted by Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison — along with Durant, the “founding fathers” of the franchise, as GM Sam Presti put it — but it finished up in exactly the kind of place an awkward divorce often does: A cheap hotel on Long Island.
[Thunder executives] didn’t have anywhere to stay, and with the Fourth of July weekend a hectic time in the Hamptons, lodging was hard to come by. So the Thunder holed up at a Holiday Inn Express, located one mile away from Durant’s compound, and waited.
There were only six rooms available for nine people, so they shared. Clay Bennett, a multimillion-dollar owner, in a Holiday Inn Express, sharing a bed. Nothing was open, so they settled on a T.G.I. Friday’s for a late dinner.
And then they waited for the inevitable.
God, if that isn’t the saddest image of the NBA’s offseason, I don’t know what is. The Thunder came to KD, collective hats in hand, like any plaintive spouse, and were met with the cold sting of rejection. It’s no shot at Durant to say that, but it does give you a sense of how desperate OKC was at the end.