Community Shootaround: Durant Returns To OKC

It’s been seven months since Kevin Durant decided to leave the only franchise he ever knew to sign with the Warriors and today the eight-time All-Star will make his much-anticipated return to Oklahoma City. Sure, for nine seasons Durant helped put the Thunder on the map, but don’t expect his reception at the Chesapeake Energy Arena to be anything less than hostile.

On one hand, Durant treated the franchise that drafted him with relatively unprecedented respect, on the other, well… sports fan logic. As Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News tweets, Durant didn’t force a trade out of Oklahoma City and he didn’t put up a stir mid-season and distract the Thunder from their 2015/16 campaign. He waited dutifully until the offseason before making a decision well within his rights as a player.

Still, though his decision is certainly defensible, it didn’t win over very many fans outside of the Bay Area. Shortly after Durant’s personal essay detailing his thought process regarding the move to Oakland was published, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN tweeted a sentiment to which skeptical fans could relate. Smith called Durant’s decision a “weak move”, lambasting the superstar for opting to sign with the team that just rallied to eliminate the Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.

Needless to say, when Durant takes the floor for the Warriors this evening, emotions will be at an all-time high. Earlier this morning Howard Beck of Bleacher Report tweeted that the ugliest sports scene he ever witnessed first-hand was LeBron James‘ first game back in Cleveland after signing with the Heat in the summer of 2010.

How do you think Durant’s return to Oklahoma City will go? Do fans have the right to boo an ex-star that did so much for the franchise? If so, how far is too far when fans react negatively?

Weigh in below!

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25 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Durant Returns To OKC

  1. Reflect

    I think signing with GSW was totally lame from a character standpoint (signing with the #1 best team just to win a ring is usually lame). But he was a free agent and had a right to leave.

    However, in the same way he was within his rights to leave, fans will be within their rights to boo him out of the arena. It’s a two-way street. I hate how articles always defend players and completely ignore the rights of fans.

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    • toudi

      by saying fans have the right to be a douche you say Durant isn’t really free to make his choices
      he basically is your slave
      if you acknowledge his freedom respect his choices :p

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  2. Game Of Sloans

    Do we count the SuperSonics as a separate franchise? Not trying to be that guy or correct the writer, just curious if we count one or two franchises in this situation.

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    • Austin Kent

      Definitely did a double-take writing that sentence, so I totally get where you’re coming from, but yeah, I’d say it’s just the one franchise.

      Sure it’s a different city and a different culture, those aren’t to be overlooked, but he had never experienced a team-changing transaction before.

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      • Game Of Sloans

        Thank you for taking that question well, I meant no respect. Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed!

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  3. InvalidUserID

    Sure, the fans have every right to boo him. He did leave and joined the team that eliminated theirs. HOWEVER, fans are blind if they can’t acknowledge that KD handled it just about as well as he could: he didn’t whine to get out of OKC, demand a trade and/or didn’t go straight to GS. He met with OKC, BOS and GS so it’s not like he had made his mind to ditch the Thunder.

    Personally I can see why he left: his game matches so well with GSW and he said himself that he wanted that type of unity that they showed that he apparently didn’t have with Russ.

    As a reporter said: the OKC fans should give him a standing O for what he did in a Thunder uniform and then boo him relentlessly as a member of the Warriors.

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    • Connorsoxfan

      I wouldn’t use the meetings to determine he hadn’t made up his mind. He knew going in that picking GSW would be a controversial decision, and the backlash would’ve been worse had he not met with anyone else. If I was in his shoes, I probably would’ve met with 5 teams even if I didn’t have serious interest in the other 4 just to save face.

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      • InvalidUserID

        Fair enough, nobody really knows. But if he had signed with GSW on the first day of free agency, that would have been very telling.

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      • liamsfg

        I would have to say that, for any job/career the most important thing is the people around you. Who do you work for/with?

        Winning a ring is good, and Durant came nearly as close to doing that last year with the Thunder as the Warriors did.

        But I have would have to imagine that he was sick of the people in OKC and wanted to be around a more enjoyable crowd that he can get along with.

        After 9 years somewhere you gotta realise when people aren’t going to grow (character wise) and it forces you to make a tough decision to get a referesher.

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  4. Yankees1991

    Kevin Durant had the first opportunity of his career to decide where he wanted to play basketball…plain and simple. OKC fans have every reason to be upset that he left the team for GS, but that does not diminish what he did for what was a struggling franchise when it first departed Seattle and arrived in Oklahoma City. Fans should boo the player on the court simply because he’s wearing another jersey, but don’t hate the man.

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  5. harvey

    Durant should be booed with no
    mercy OKC had a 3-1 lead over these Warriors
    because Durant totally choked in game 6 So
    he has another year left but opts out leaving Westbrook without even telling him and the city that loved him an joins the loaded enemy that beat him!!! despicable sneaky gutless

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    • DarkGhost

      Totally agree

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      • liamsfg

        Westbrook brought this upon himself. Durant wanted to be around some humble people with social concious.

        I’d also bet he wanted to be in a blue state/city given the current political climate of the country since the early stages of the election.

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  6. Durant was a free agent. Free to go wherever he wanted. Remember what Kevin Garnett said. That he stayed in Minnesota and was loyal to the Timberwolves for too many years before leaving. He only had a couple good years left when he went to Boston. He’s regretted staying in Minnesota for 12 years. Yes he was traded, McHale knew he would leave so he got something back for him. OKC wasn’t so smart.

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    • Connorsoxfan

      OKC was a serious title contender though, so it’s a bit different.

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  7. It’s okay for general managers and owners to put together super teams like in Miami and Boston, but players can do it? And why stay somewhere and play where you’re miserable and you have a knucklehead point guard? And why choose a lesser team than the Warriors just because of what people might say. If you went to Boston nobody would complain or to the Lakers or the Clippers nobody would complain. I think it’s worse what the Clippers did. DeAndre Jordan verbally committed to Dallas and the players and Doc traveled to Dallas and kidnapped him and put him in a room and said you’re signing with us. Now that is Despicable.

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    • DarkGhost

      If you can’t see why people have an issue with a guy joining a team that beat him when he was up 3-1 and then all the shots he took at Russell after he left then you need to go to the doctor and get your eyes and mind checked.

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      • Agreed. The problem with him leaving OKC to go to GS is that he basically admitted he can’t beat them. I have no problems with him feeling he had a better shot to win a title elsewhere, but to go to the team that made a 3-1 comeback to beat your old team is what the problem is.

        Also, if DeAndre really wanted to sign with Dallas he would’ve done so. What the Clippers did was basically make one last pitch to Jordan about why he should stay in LA. If he felt he was being forced into a decision then I’m sure he could’ve taken some sort of legal action. That or DeAndre has to learn to make a decision for himself and not be forced into one.

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        • ABStract

          So if they’d lost to someone other than GS, only then would he have your permission to make the best decision for his future?
          KD has always been a techie/hipster and the pairing with the Bay Area and Silicon Valley has been an obvious fit.
          More exposure than OKC, more endorsements.
          Not to mention that the most talented, most fun, and best passing team in the league wants u, but your not gonna go there cuz u lost a series against them? Especially when your former team is basically just one dude who won’t give u the ball…
          It’s an easy choice that anyone in their right mind would make. U may not like the way he handled it, but being mad at his decision seems just a little immature.

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          • What KD joining the Warriors told me was that he admitted he can’t beat them in a 7 game series. Considering they were one game away from doing so, that makes Durant look bad (at least to me). Look, I get the appeal of playing in GS and I know the issues between his and Russ’ relationship, but him fleeing to the team that pulled off a 3-1 comeback basically tells me that KD knows he can’t beat GS, so he’ll just join them. I have no problem with players chasing rings, but when you consider his “superteam” comments from when LeBron left to join Miami, it makes him look even worse when he does the same thing.

            And the “basically just one dude who won’t give you the ball” comment is just idiotic. Russ gets a bad reputation because he played alongside the fans’ (before Curry) golden boy in Durant. Should Durant have just taken 30 plus shots a game? It’s not like Durant was taking a number of shots that was limiting his effectiveness. He was still getting plenty of shots as was Westbrook. Also, let’s not forget that in the GS-OKC playoff series last year, it was Durant who was missing the clutch time shots. Not saying Westbrook would’ve made them either, but my point is that Durant was still getting plenty of shots and usage.

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            • ABStract

              Compared to the record setting passing of the Warriors, OKC is basically just one dude that won’t give him the ball. Not saying that’s the exact situation in OKC, simply by comparison.
              And really was KD admitting that he couldn’t beat GS or was it simply an admission of what OKC had proved to him time and again, that the OKC as an organization couldn’t beat GS. How it’s all about his inability to beat a team by himself, I’ll never know. GS is an amazingly well run team, whereas OKC has made some questionable decisions that have hindered their success. Should he act like that doesn’t matter?

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              • What questionable decisions (I assume roster moves) have the Thunder made? The only one I see is the Kanter resigning. They haven’t been the same since the Harden trade (although that was partially due to some bad injury luck to Westbrook, Durant, and Ibaka during that time) but Harden was also going to leave so it was either let him walk for nothing or get something (or trade Ibaka and keep Harden, which would’ve been stupid since he either would’ve continued coming off the bench or there would not have been enough basketballs to share amongst Westbrook, Harden, and Durant). A couple of years ago, keeping Durant, Harden, Westbrook, and Ibaka would have been impossible without two of them taking a discount. The Warriors have made amazing roster moves (and while I’m not trying to throw them under the bus or blame them), they’ve also been blessed by Curry’s initial inability to stay healthy (and thus his bargain contract) and a rising cap. And again, this goes back to KD being one of the (well-deserved) golden boys in the eyes of fans. If LeBron made the decision to join GS, or go to form another super team, or if another superstar joined Kyrie/LeBron/Love in Cleveland, then everyone would be ripping LeBron…but because its KD he gets a pass?

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  8. Smart people place themselves in the best environment for them to succeed…

    Take it the way you want.

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  9. Just Another Fan

    It’s always so gross to watch fans trash a player but never an owner. Players time in the game is limited, owners arent, yet the owners are always making more money in a year than a player makes in his career. Owners – especially in the NBA – routinely do horrific things that go far beyond just changing teams. OKC did not own KD, to act like he owed them anything is just disgusting. Boo him for a while, sure, but not when its the 4th quarter and he’s putting up 30+ on you, that’s petty and pathetic.

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  10. OKC Pride

    For those of us on OKC it isn’t just about him leaving… he made comments consistently that led people to believe he cared about the city and wanted to stay. If he had said from the beginning “I love it here, but and going to make the best decision for my family and my career” then I think people would be bummed, but there wouldn’t have been the hatred that spewed out on Saturday. I had tickets and my 7 year old son chose not to go rather than hear all the boos towards his favorite player.

    I guess all that to say, he was totally justified leaving, and he definitely could have hand led it worse, but he could have handled it better.

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