Thompson: A Fresh Start Is On Durant's Radar

Whatever Kevin Durant decides this offseason, it will tell us what he values, Marcus Thompson says

The DA Show
May 15, 2019 - 12:29 pm

No Kevin Durant, no problem. 

The Golden State Warriors beat Portland, 116-94 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday. In fact, the Warriors haven’t lost a game since losing Durant to a calf strain in Game 5 of the Western Conference semis, which begs the question: 

Might Durant desire a fresh start – or a new challenge – after this season?

“I definitely think that is on his radar,” The Athletic NBA columnist Marcus Thompson said on The DA Show. “I think that’s definitely something he’s been pondering – and maybe even something that he wants. I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all. I feel like Kevin Durant is in this position that he really worked hard to get to. He just has all the options. He is the chief free agent.”

He was the chief free agent in 2016, too, but this time feels different.

“Remember: his first free agency, he signed that thing on the low and posted it on Twitter. He kind of avoided all of the fanfare,” Thompson said, laughing. “Now he’s like, ‘Yo, I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am.’ So this is the perk. He gets to have everybody salivate over him and plan their whole futures around him. So I do think a large part of it is him checking out what all the options are. Some of them sound really good.”

Whatever Durant decides, it will tell us a lot about him.

“I think what he does and the decision he makes will tell us what he values,” Thompson said. “If he does leave, you know he’s legacy hunting. He’s looking for a chance to get the taste out of people’s mouths about the move he made and the controversy he caused. And if he stays, you know he’s just like, ‘All right, I’m coming for you, Kobe. I’m coming for you, MJ. Let’s try to get six rings. Let’s win like crazy.’ So I don’t think we know where he will go, but what he decides will let us know exactly what matters the most. But I think all of it is on the table.”

Thompson, who authored “KD: Kevin Durant's Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest,” was also asked about Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City. As DA observed, OKC Durant and Golden State Durant are two different people.

Did leaving the Thunder make Durant a different guy?

“I don’t know if he became a different guy,” Thompson said. “I think it liberated him to just be who he is. I think he spent so much time in Oklahoma City trying to be the good guy, wanting to make sure he held up his image as the anti-superstar. He was humble, he did a lot of community service, he used to not even curse publicly, he (put) his bible in his backpack – he was just really playing up the aw-shucks, good-old-boy, humble kid. 

“I think once he became scrutinized and once people were attacking him, I think it freed him to say, ‘Look, y’all are going to get all of Kevin Durant now, and sometimes that means I might be firing back at you.’ He even said it: ‘That was me being fake. Now you’re getting the real me.’ So I do feel like this was always there, but now because we’re paying so much close attention – and now he’s feeling like ‘I’m under attack anyway, so I might as well be me’ – we get to see the whole person. He’s pretty complex.”