12x All-Star Kevin Durant, one of the greatest Forwards in NBA History, has had a less than Hall Of Fame summer. The former MVP has been in every headline imaginable. He’s been in trade rumors, demanded his coach and GM be fired, and has the occasional tweet that gets him an absurd amount of attention. Durant, 33, requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on June 30th of this year leaving the team in a dysfunctional mess. The looming uncertainty of Kyrie Irving persists in each cryptic tweet, along with the ever present absence of Ben Simmons’ jump shot and availability. The Brooklyn Nets are the biggest question mark in all of American sports, and Durant is at the nucleus of that punctuation.
This isn’t the first summer that Kevin Durant has garnered the mass attention of the sports world. His famous “My Next Chapter” piece on the Players Tribune in July of 2016, announcing his departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder and his arrival in Golden State had the entire NBA in hysterics. At the time, Durant was coming off of a disappointing Western Conference Finals loss to the Warriors – the team he would then win the next 2 championships with. While controversial, the move was ultimately the correct choice for his basketball success. He came away with two Finals MVP awards, and cemented himself among the greats in this league. Some would argue the rings “didn’t count” or were “cheap”, but it didn’t matter in the end. Durant evaded the criticism and brought back the satisfaction of winning to his trophy cases. Or so we thought.
Durant wasn’t nearly satisfied enough with those titles. In 2019, Durant had this to say when asked about his arrival in Brooklyn.
“I felt like it was time for a change. I wanted to play for a new team and simply put, I just did it. I didn’t really think about what I was leaving behind or what we accomplished. I put that up on a shelf already. When it was time to make a decision on my future, I just thought solely about me.”– Kevin Durant, after joining the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
Whether this was purely a business decision, or the truth of wanting his “own team”, Durant decided to take the road less traveled. Instead of being the second fiddle to a homegrown superstar like Stephen Curry, Durant wanted to do it as the main guy. Was this his best chance to actually win? Arguably no. Was this the best financial move? Yes. But no matter where you land on his reasoning, the truth becomes more evident the deeper you dig. Like a person constantly changing professions, or someone changing their major each semester, Durant had an issue with the satisfaction of his choices.
Now, after 2 failed playoff runs, and a myriad of strange front office choices, Durant wants off of the Brooklyn Nets. Even with a solid backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry, a DPOY candidate (when he plays) in Ben Simmons, and the full support of the coaching staff and front office alike, Durant has other ideas in mind. Will they lead to more success? Possibly. It’s impossible to predict his future when you think of the teams he might join. Does he go to Philadelphia to team up with James Harden and Joel Embiid? Or to Miami with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo? To Boston? Phoenix?
Wherever Durant lands in the future, I hope he is satisfied with his choices. Even if he’s not as successful, his overall happiness with himself and his life is what matters most. It’s easy to speculate that success would equal joy, but with his previous track record, we know that to be false. Winning isn’t everything. I just hope Kevin Durant takes his own words into account when making his next choice, because he said it best.
“The grass is not always greener on the other side. You learn to appreciate these people.”– Kevin Durant