It’s no surprise the relationship between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will never be the same. That was an inevitable consequence of the pair going from teammates to adversaries upon Durant rocking the basketball world by signing with the Golden State Warriors in early July.
Time heals wounds, however, and it’s fair to assume a partnership as fruitful as Durant and Westbrook’s would be looked back on fondly by both parties once smoke from this shocking development clears over the next few years. But this new intel explains why the Oklahoma City Thunder’s lone remaining superstar might feel forever burned.
During a recent appearance on the TrueHoop Podcast, ESPN’s Royce Young said that Durant, shortly before agreeing with Golden State, told Westbrook he was returning to Oklahoma City. Thanks to ProBasketballTalk’s Dan Feldman for the following transcription:
Three weeks ago, Kevin Durant’s sitting there at dinner, telling him “Hey, I’m coming back, man. Don’t worry about it.” And now, Russell Westbrook has been kind of thrown into this in having to decide his future a summer earlier than expected.
In a story posted earlier this week concerning Westbrook’s uncertain future with the Thunder, Young revealed that the former teammates haven’t spoken since Durant’s announcement and that Westbrook is “angry and hurt” not only by the 2014 MVP’s free agency destination, but also because he wasn’t informed of it beforehand. On the contrary, it appears Westbrook and Nick Collison – who was also at the dinner in question, according to Young – heard from the horse’s mouth that he was coming back to the Thunder.
Further, Young reiterated on the podcast a tidbit from his published piece for ESPN that Durant was “looking to buy a multi-million-dollar home” on the outskirts of Oklahoma City just a week before free agency began on July 1.
The Thunder, it seems, were absolutely blindsided by Durant opting to continue his career elsewhere – just like the front office honchos in Oakland, by the way. But keeping mum until the time comes to make a decision and going back on one’s word are two different things, and this new information indicates Durant ultimately did the the latter whether or intentionally or otherwise.
That he supposedly hasn’t spoken with Westbrook since not only suggests a gaping rift in their friendship, but perhaps basketball’s newest individual rivalry, too. Stay tuned.