We all know the story of Kevin Durant betrayed Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder and joined the 73-9 Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors had won a championship in 2015 and had just blown a 3-1 Finals lead in 2016 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after breaking the record for the most wins in NBA history.
Before the 2016 finals, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder actually put the Golden State Warriors in the same 3-1 position. It looked like the Warriors wouldn’t even make it out of the Western Conference, but the Thunder blew their 3-1 lead to the Warriors and that game would be the last time we’d see Kevin Durant in a Thunder jersey.
Kevin Durant would leave the Thunder and join what was already the best team in the NBA.
The Warriors would go on to win the next two championships and make the next three finals, only losing the 2020 finals because Kevin Durant tore his Achilles and Klay Thompson tore his ACL.
Throughout the 2019-2020 season, the Warriors finally began to show some of their true colors. The most obvious example was the beef between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green where Green famously explained that the Warriors don’t need Kevin Durant to win, and they immediately lost in the finals.
During the 2020 offseason, Kevin Durant decided it would be best to leave the Warriors and join Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.
After leaving the Warriors, there were reports that Kevin Durant didn’t even call Stephen Curry to tell him that he was leaving. Later he had an interview where he was saying some of his best teammates and left Stephen Curry off the list.
To anyone who skimmed this and didn’t understand half of what was written, the point is: Kevin Durant didn’t exactly leave on good terms.
Some more of those ‘bad terms’ were showed recently.
Golden States’ general manager, Bob Myers, had this to say about Golden State winning their 2018 championship:
“The second time with Kevin (in 2018) it felt like, ‘well we just did what we were supposed to do, and great job… it wasn’t joy.”
To be fair, Myers does have a point. During those two seasons, the NBA was at its most boring. We all knew the drill: Golden State destroying the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals. That’s what happened both times as Golden State went a combined 8-1 against Cleveland in those finals.
In 2017, it was still new to the Warriors since they did lose the year prior. It was also Kevin Durant’s first ring and the dynasty had not been official. The team and fans alike were still ecstatic for their second ring.
In 2018, it was more of the same except this time, the competition was even less. By their second championship, everyone knew what would happen. It was obvious that LeBron James and the others riding his tail weren’t enough to go up against the Warriors, so with it being so obvious, it really couldn’t be that fun now could it?
Well according to Kevin Durant, they seemed to have fun with their second straight championship.
Kevin Durant fired back by commenting on the photo saying this:
Obviously anyone would be happy for the moment they get a ring, but the lasting effect likely wasn’t the same since they knew what was going to happen.
Even though the Warriors have been losing ever since Kevin left, their future is actually looking pretty bright and exciting. The addition of Andrew Wiggins as well as the likelihood of them getting either James Wiseman or Onyeko Okongwu in the draft, the Warriors may actually be an extremely exciting team next season.
Not only are they going to be a fantastic team next season, but they will actually have to be highly competitive to do it. There’s LeBron and the Lakers, Kawhi and the Clippers, and Jokic and the Nuggets in the West, while Giannis on the Bucks and Kevin Durant on the Nets provide a lot more competition in the NBA Finals than in previous years.
Odds are, winning the 2021 championship would mean a lot more to Curry, Klay, and the rest of the Warriors would cherish this championship a lot more than their championships with Kevin Durant.
It’s a well-known fact that players love to compete and really work for their championships. Since they didn’t really have to work for their championships, it is entirely possible that they weren’t that fun for the team either.