Kevin Durant shocked the world earlier this month when he announced that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, a team already bound to make the NBA Finals over the next few years and the one that overcame a 3-1 Western Conference Finals series deficit to knock Durant out of the playoffs.
Despite the loss, many expected Durant to return to the Thunder for at least another year. When he released his decision to join the Warriors via his website, The Players Tribune, on July 4, many players around the league and fans around the world were shocked that the four-time scoring champion would jump ship to form a “super team” along with three other All-Stars.
Perhaps nobody was as stunned as Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
According to ESPN.com reporter Royce Young, Durant told Westbrook during a dinner meeting just days prior to his decision that he would re-sign with Oklahoma City.
Speaking on the True Hoops podcast, Young elaborated on the situation.
“Three weeks ago, Kevin Durant’s sitting there at dinner, telling him, ‘Hey, I’m coming back, man. Don’t worry about it.’ And now, Russell Westbrook has been kind of thrown into this in having to decide his future a summer earlier than expected.”
Young also went on to say that Westbrook was not the only person Durant informed of his intentions of returning, going as far as to begin the search for a new home in the Oklahoma City suburbs.
“Kevin Durant, more so than even that, was telling people, ‘Hey, yeah, I mean, I’m coming back,'” Young continued. “Like I said in there, a week before Kevin Durant sat down in the Hamptons, he was in Oklahoma City ready to make an offer on a multi-million-dollar house. So, the guy was pretty serious about coming back, and then things turned rather quickly for him to leave. And there’s no doubt that the organization felt a little bit burned by this.”
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Initial reports following Durant’s decision indicated that there weren’t any doubts that he would return to the Thunder, but that the Warriors’ final pitch was what convinced Durant to ultimately change his mind.
Stories afloat about Westbrook being “angry and hurt” by his former teammate’s decision surfaced, especially with reports that he didn’t receive a call from Durant notifying him of his choice to leave his home of eight years.
Durant acknowledged during a recent Team USA practice that his relationship with Westbrook will probably never be the same. Now, if Young’s assertions are true, Durant’s statement holds much more weight than it originally did.
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