Kevin Durant’s Twitter war with CJ McCollum was not just another validation that Durant is deeply concerned with what is being said about him, but it also clued that he may not be a Warrior for too much longer.
It confirmed that Durant is still insecure about his decision to join the Warriors and the response that followed. The move led to being accused of ruining the NBA, taking the easy way out, and joining a team he could not beat up 3-1.
Durant is not only triggered from criticism from NBA players but even from a “middle school/knock off Stephen A.”
Three things are certain as long as Durant is a member of the Warriors: he will not garner the credit he deserves, he will continue to be looked at as a bad guy, and it will bother him.
The only way to erase these negative narratives is for Durant to pull a reverse and leave the Warriors. Ironically, Durant has the luxury of benefiting greatly in the minds of the masses – that he is concerned about – if he leaves.
Process this: Durant has the chance to go from “the guy who joined a 73-win team, with three future Hall-of-Famers, including a two-time MVP and ruined the league” to “the guy who left the greatest team ever, the greatest situation ever, to bravely build a team around him and save the competitiveness of the league.”
Quickly, Durant would go from the bad guy to the good guy a la when LeBron James went back home to Cleveland after being the villain of the NBA for four years in Miami.
Should Durant care enough about public perception to leave a situation he can win championships annually? Of course not. But clearly, he does.
Here are some scenarios that could be coming Durant’s way staying in Golden State vs leaving:
- Winning a third championship with the Warriors: “KD ruined the NBA. It is boring, nobody is beating this team. Why even bother. Thanks, Durant.”
- Kevin Durant is the main reason they win four straight: “How can you say he is the best player in the NBA? He is only doing this because of Curry. Let him do this outside this system. Four straight was expected.”
- Durant leaves the Warriors in 2019 or 2020: “Wow, he left that team? He is going to prove he can win this without them. The NBA is fun again.”
- Durant wins a title elsewhere: “Told you, KD is an all-time great player. He was the main reason the Warriors one those last several titles. Durant is a top 10 player all-time and the best in the game right now.”
There is a counter-argument to be had that if he leaves and doesn’t win he will be ridiculed. However, Durant has the utmost confidence in himself and likely believes he can win somewhere else, and that will be much better than what he will hear if the Warriors start not winning the championship.
In terms of public perception, it serves him best to leave the Warriors while they are still good. Nothing would be worse than what would come his way if they are no longer the NBA’s gold standard and then he decides to leave.
Durant will have several options as well in the coming years. Nobody reasonable, besides a few trolls he may still get angry at, will fault him if he brings another superstar with him or joins a team with all-stars. As long as he does not join the team that eliminated him or just won the championship, Durant will go from wrecking the NBA to making it fun again (in the eyes of social media).
Kevin Durant is giving us clues his insecurity could drive him out of the Bay Area sooner rather than later, so don’t be surprised when it happens.