Russell Westbrook does not like Kevin Durant. He also does not like Steph Curry, Draymond Green or the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for Westbrook, they will be teammates during Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Steve Kerr would be wise not to put Westbrook on the floor with Durant, but at the end of the day, Bruce Bowen thinks everyone simply needs to move on from what happened this past offseason.
“I think the whole ordeal is this: You got to respect guys for what they choose to do,” the three-time NBA champion said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Whenever guys get to a point in their career where they are no longer playing and they start seeing what they could have done in their prime, they wish they could have gone back to move a certain time. You just have to respect what Kevin Durant did because it’s his choice. It’s his decision. You look at the OKC Thunder now, and this is what he was dealing with. It would have put so much pressure on him, and he didn’t see the development of the team. Now, that’s no disrespect to Russell Westbrook. That’s no disrespect to the organization. It’s a choice that Kevin Durant made. Now I wish we could all get along like Rodney King said back in the day and just get over it. For you to even talk trash and try to taunt Kevin Durant – who’s been an MVP in the NBA, he’s been to the NBA Finals, he’s been an All-Star, he’s led the league in scoring – and Enes Kanter is going to start chirping while he’s sitting in his suit because he broke his arm? Come on.”
To be fair, though, Durant didn’t bolt on a team that was bounced in the first round. He bolted on a team that was a couple buckets away from the Finals.
“They were up 3-1, and they couldn’t close,” Bowen said. “So he knew then he didn’t have closers.”
But shouldn’t Durant have been the closer? Isn’t he one of the best players in the world?
“Well, okay,” Bowen said. “So what do you do? You bring your talents (somewhere else) – kind of like somebody (who) went to South Beach.”
Ah, so Durant took the easy way out, Brandon Tierney observed.
“I’m not saying that,” Bowen said. “We can sit and talk about that all day because you’re always going to have someone that says something different, says something in comparison to this guy and that guy. But ultimately, everybody has to come to the realization that they are just better than OKC. As much build-up as we try to make it, we just couldn’t do it. It is what it is. That team is very good. That team has a lot of weapons – a lot more weapons – than what this other team has. . . . But when you think about the things that are transpiring, I wouldn’t have antagonized Kevin Durant when he was back in OKC. The fans booing him? Really? You’re going to boo him because he made that decision?”
Well, Thunder fans certainly weren’t going to cheer Durant, especially with him scoring 34 points in a 130-114 Golden State win.
“You don’t (have to) cheer him, but you don’t want a player like that to get focused,” Bowen said. “Players of that caliber, when they’re focused, that’s when they have those huge games – and we saw it. There was nothing they could do with him. You put (Andre) Roberson on him, and he goes by Roberson. You put Russell on him, and he shoots over Westbrook. He’s so talented, just try to get through that night. Even though there were emotions there for him, if you don’t boo him, maybe those emotions get the best of him and he’s not Kevin Durant like he was. But when you start booing him, the emotions are gone. Now I’m focused.”