In case you haven’t noticed, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been battling in the media with each of them getting two covers of major magazines (Durant –Rolling Stone/SLAM & Westbrook – Sports Illustrated/GQ) to tell their side of the story.  Earlier today I posted the excerpts from Durant’s Rolling Stone article talking about why he left the Thunder.  In this excerpt, Durant talks about the moments he decided to rock with the Warriors.

Some part of Durant knew he’d already punched his ticket. “It felt like that whole thing was set up for me to leave,” he says, “especially after they blew a lead in the finals, because I damn sure wasn’t going there if they’d won. But after Game Seven, I called up my agent and said, ‘Damn, dude, Golden State – what if?’ ”

Try as it might with draft picks and trades, management there was never going to fix what it had broken with the Harden deal. And so Durant began eyeballing other teams, taking the temperature of the league. One team particularly drew his notice: the ball-don’t-stop, breakneck-tempo, blowout-happy Warriors. These dudes play just like I do, he thought. They see the floor the way I see it. There, he could “set picks and get hockey assists,” the small-ball things he’d likely never get to do as long as he played with Westbrook. “It’s an open secret that the fun had stopped there and it was never going to flow with Russell,” says a highly placed source in the league. “Russell’s a my-turn, your-turn kind of guy, and don’t think defenders don’t know that. When Russ had the ball, KD’s guy would leave him to go and help guard Russ.”

“He [Stephen Curry] told Kevin, ‘I don’t need the ball and that many shots – I just need another title, man.’ ”

Meanwhile, Durant studied the body language of the players at his table. “They just liked each other so much and were so relaxed,” he says. “I thought, ‘These are some chill-ass dudes I wouldn’t mind hooping with.’ I wasn’t even asking, ‘How do we play together?’ I was asking, ‘Where do y’all go eat, do y’all hang out together?'” These were salient questions for Durant. As close as people presumed he and Westbrook had been, they were never much more than work friends, he says. “We had our own cliques that we hung with on the road. Russell had his guys, I had mine. It was never a bad thing. Just how it was.” For the guy who’d grown up friendless through grade school and preps, the pull of those stars and their shared affection must have felt like a welcome banner. All his life, he’d been walking alone, a party of one in the desert. Now, at last, his tribe called out to him. Who among us could have said no?

Finally, he went to bed, unsure what to do. When he woke, at 5 a.m., he heard one word in his head: Warriors. He went and rousted Kleiman, then prepared himself to make the hardest phone call of his life. “It was rough, talking to [Thunder GM] Sam Presti and [owner] Clay Bennett. I cried and got emotional, I’ll put it like that.” He texted Westbrook the news, but didn’t call him – they hadn’t really talked through the process. Asked why, Durant gives a shrug. They’d had those years together, fought as hard as two men can when they’re outnumbered. Sometimes, when it ends, you let the silence speak; words just don’t seem adequate, for better or worse.

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source: Rolling Stone