Kevin Durant joined prior injury replacement starters James Harden and Klay Thompson in Steve Kerr’s opening five alongside Steph Curry and Marc Gasol during today’s Western Conference All-Star practice. However, the Golden State Warriors coach must not have been impressed with how the reigning MVP acquitted himself during the “intense” session. Just a few hours later, Kerr officially announced that Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge – not Durant – would be his exhibition squad’s fifth and final starter.
ESPN’s Marc Stein originally reported the news, and it was confirmed shortly thereafter by multiple parties involved:
Kerr is obviously sending a message Durant here, right? Just imagine if their teams meet in the playoffs – KD will be out for blood!
Not actually, of course. A far more likely scenario is that Durant informed Kerr he was somewhat hobbled and the ‘Dubs coach juggled his rotation as a result. Intel like below certainly lends credence to that possibility:
Even if Kerr had other reasons to go with Aldridge instead of Durant at tip-off on Sunday – perhaps that the Slim Reaper has missed more than half his team’s games this season, for instance – we’re fully confident that ulterior motives were uninvolved. Kerr simply isn’t the type to employ that kind of gamesmanship, and importance of a non-voted starting spot in the All-Star Game is of no meaningful significance anyway.
Regardless, congratulations to Aldridge. Might this lead to Blazers fans finally stopping the outdated cries of their hero being underrated? We doubt it, but sure hope so.