The grass is rarely greener on the other side, a lesson Kevin Durant may learn should he decide to take his talents to New York or pretty much anywhere. Durant’s two-year $61.5 million contract is up and most agree he’ll opt to become a free agent and test the waters. One might reasonably ask, “why would he leave a situation where he would be the odds on favorite to win two or three more NBA titles with the clearly best team in the NBA?”
The reason most give is that Kevin Durant isn’t getting the credit he’s due as an individual, surrounded by four other All-Star’s; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Draymond Green. His two years with Golden State has led to two titles and two NBA Finals MVP Awards. How exactly is he not getting enough credit?
One issue, of course, is money. Kevin can go somewhere else and get a max deal. There’s nowhere else he can go and be surrounded by the talent his present team has. Kyrie Irving got tired of dwelling in LeBron James shadow. Despite being part of the last NBA championship team not residing in Oakland, CA while hitting clutch shots and being a major factor. There’s no telling what their Cleveland team might have done in the future had Kyrie not bolted to Boston where he could be, “the man.”
LeBron James has been “the man” on every team he’s been on since middle-school. Even when playing with fellow All-Star’s Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He carried the responsibility for whatever happened, win or lose. LeBron went to the Lakers, hoping to restore glory to a legendary franchise, molding a third team into his image. Beset by injuries including to LeBron, this Laker team won’t even make the playoffs.
Midseason, Kyrie Irving called LeBron to say he was sorry for the way things worked out. His stint in Boston where he had to be the leader, taught him what he hadn’t learned previously. LeBron is likely wishing he’d gone to a team with more maturity and talent. Both might wish they’d stayed together in Cleveland?
Kevin Durant when at Oklahoma City, shared top billing with Russell Westbrook, a man with his own opinion as to who was the team leader. He can go to New York or elsewhere and be the man, winning might be another thing entirely. Championships in the NBA are a rare thing. As Kyrie is learning, having already won is no guarantee the magic is easily recaptured. Even LeBron is finding that out.
Trying to win three championships in a row is a grind. The motivation to get through the regular season when everyone is after your crown is tedious. What’s even more tedious is losing. LeBron will be watching the playoffs on television this year. At least he’ll get an extra month of rest this offseason. What would he be willing to give for another opportunity to strive for another ring? Kyrie’s team is in the playoffs but is nowhere near reaching his potential unless they make a dramatic turnaround. Durant’s team is tied for the lead in the Western Conference and the odds on favorite to win it all again. Think about it, Kevin!