The writing was on the wall in early July 2016 when Kevin Durant announced he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors.
We all knew it. There was going to be plenty of opportunities throughout the NBA season for potential drama.READ MORE: River Fire Grows To 2,400 Acres; Zero Containment Reported
Durant signed a 2-year, $54.3 million deal with a player option in the second year. He was, without a doubt, the most coveted free agent on the market, mainly because everybody knew LeBron James was staying in Cleveland.
Durant listed a number of reasons to explain his choice in a piece he penned for the The Players’ Tribune, none of which I’m going to list because quite honestly, I don’t care one bit why he left. I think it’s absurd that a player have to justify a choice he/she makes for their career to satisfy the masses.
But I digress.
When the announcement came out, the immediate question was what would happen with the relationship between Durant and long-time teammate Russell Westbrook? They were, after all, the Batman and Robin of the NBA. Both young, ultra talented athletes who got oh so close to their ultimate goal but feel short due to countless injuries and, well, the emergence of the Stephen Curry and the Warriors.
All of those questions have of course been answered now.
There were four dates on every NBA fan’s calendar once the schedule was finally announced Aug. 11:
- Nov. 3, 2016
- Jan. 18, 2017
- Feb. 3, 2017
- March 20, 2017
Two of those dates have now come and gone with the Warriors defeating the Thunder 122-96 and 121-100 respectively.
Durant and Westbrook didn’t speak a single word to one another during the first match-up at Oracle Arena. The second trip to Oakland for the Thunder wasn’t much different.
Westbrook confirmed he and his former teammate are not on speaking terms and even got upset with Enes Kanter for saying hello to his former teammate.READ MORE: Search Continues For Driver Who Hit And Killed Caltrans Subcontractor On Highway 99
Now, having said all that, to add fuel to this contentious eternal flame that burns between the former teammates, the NBA All-Star reserves were announced Thursday. You can see the full list here but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll stick with the story line.
Westbrook was, by no surprise to anyone with eyeballs, voted in by the NBA coaches. He is averaging a triple-double and his name being left off the All-Star starters selections seemed to have pissed off just about every coach in the league.
But it got me thinking about something that never once crossed my mind when this whole thing went down back in July, or even after when the stories that the two were not speaking were confirmed…
What the heck is going to happen in New Orleans during NBA All-Star weekend Feb. 17-19th?
Durant and Westbrook will be playing on the SAME team. They will be forced to not only play together but to be around each other for the countless appearances and events that take place over the All-Star weekend.
Will they speak? Will they avoid each other and pretend the other literally does not exist? Like when Westbrook was asked about a couple back-and-forth plays when they last faced off on Jan. 18th and he didn’t “remember” that those plays even took place.
I’ll take it a step further. Will they freeze each other out on the court too?
This whole ordeal between the two is saddening to me. I understand why Westbrook is hurt by the fact Durant jumped ship. After all, this is someone he was best friends and teammates with, whom he went to battle with game after game for eight years.
I do, I get it. Regardless of the fact, I also don’t believe Durant has to explain his decision or factor in anyone’s feelings other than his own when making it.
But the crazy thing for me is Durant has now become like the proverbial tree falling in the woods for Westbrook.MORE NEWS: Bicyclist Killed In Hit-And-Run In Modesto; Suspect's Vehicle Identified
In Westbrook’s mind, Durant doesn’t exist anymore. The tree may fall, or it may win a title, but for Westbrook it will never make a sound.