It is said that when someone breaks up with another, he or she will not necessarily wish the other good luck.
If that someone sees the other achieve something great or find someone better, it must eat away at him or her.
Many feel that is the predicament that Kevin Durant has been going through lately.
After winning back-to-back NBA championships and Finals MVPs in 2017 and 2018, Durant left the Golden State Warriors unceremoniously in 2019 to join the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets, despite the presence of borderline superstar Kyrie Irving and many capable role players, have won only one playoff series since Durant’s arrival.
Meanwhile, the Warriors went through purgatory for two seasons, only to bounce back in glorious fashion by winning their fourth world title in eight years two months ago.
Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd says that this has been an ugly offseason for Durant, and he compared it to a divorce.
Kevin Durant's timing of his trade request isn't a coincidence:
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 26, 2022
“So I think it’s been a really dark, really, really hard offseason for Kevin Durant, who’s got a little destination addiction personality in him. And that’s okay, everybody’s different, but never forget when he said I want out. It was after the Warriors won, and I think it’s tough.”
Durant Had Something Great Going In Golden State
All things being equal, Durant should’ve stayed with the Warriors, where he helped them go from a great team into a dynastic one.
Sure, perhaps many wouldn’t have given him the credit he deserves, but he’s getting even less credit the way things have turned out.
In the 2015-16 season, coming off their first championship of the Stephen Curry era, the Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games, but they blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals to LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers.
In 2015, when Golden State won it all, James’ first mate Kyrie Irving was out for most of the championship series with a knee injury, but he was healthy and played very well in 2016.
A very strong argument could be made that the Warriors needed Durant not only to beat the Cavs in 2017 but also to win it all in 2018.
That year, Golden State trailed in the Western Conference Finals 3-2 to the top-seeded Houston Rockets, and even with Chris Paul suffering a season-ending injury, the team was still up against it.
After the Warriors won Game 6 at home very easily, Durant led the way in Game 7 in Texas with 34 points, including 21 in the second half and 11 in the fourth quarter.
Yet, many still claim that he did nothing more than ride Curry’s coattails both seasons.
Kinda agree with Broussard. I doubt GS would win w/o @StephenCurry30. Durant rode Steph’s coattails. He can’t win one on his own.
— Baba Booey (@softballscrub) May 23, 2019
@KDTrey5 How it feels to ride the coattails of Stephen curry? Michel Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russel didn't need to go to other teams to win their championships. It is easy to win a championship on a championship team it is another to make a team great!
— Normand Bourque (@NBourque77) August 8, 2018
The Only Way For Him To Win Is To Win
If Durant wants to salvage his legacy and get back on the good side of pundits and observers, there’s only one thing he can do.
He must lead his Nets to a world championship, and soon.
Durant will turn 34 next month, and while the Nets have a very promising team, the clock is ticking on his prime years.
If he delivers the team its first Larry O’Brien Trophy while winning his third Finals MVP award, the conversation surrounding him will change at least somewhat.
At least some people will start talking about him perhaps being one of the 10 greatest players ever, just like what has happened with Curry over the last couple of months.
But if Durant doesn’t deliver the goods, his legacy will end up being complicated and unfulfilling, especially for him.