When Kevin Durant announced that he would be leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, he received a massive amount of flak from NBA fans and pundits who compared his announcement via blog post to LeBron James’ 2010 television special where he confirmed he was signing with the Miami Heat. While James took a less splashy route earlier this month when he signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, it was a big move nonetheless, and one that Durant was apparently a fan of, as he admitted in a recent interview.
Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated in an interview published Thursday, Durant compared James’ choice to join the Lakers as the “perfect decision” and the “perfect move,” adding that he felt LeBron achieved all he could in two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including two MVP awards and a championship in the 2015-16 season. With his move to the Lakers, the 33-year-old James hopes to lead a young core featuring Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram to their first playoff appearance since 2013.
“I think this is the perfect next step for him, and he’s kinda breaking down the barriers of what an NBA superstar is supposed to be,” said Durant.
“You feel like you’re just supposed to play it out in one spot. I think he did a good job of giving different chapters. I think it’s gonna make his book even more interesting when it’s done.”
Although Kevin Durant talked in depth about LeBron James and his decision to become a Los Angeles Laker, he also offered some comments on another big free agency move from earlier this month, a move that happened to involve his own team, the Golden State Warriors. Shortly after James agreed to sign with the Lakers, DeMarcus Cousins accepted a one-year contract to play for the Warriors, and while he will be returning from a season-ending Achilles injury that cut his 2017-18 campaign short, his signing controversially gave the Warriors a fifth All-Star starter.
Kevin Durant 'absolutely loved' LeBron James' decision to join Los Angeles Lakers
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 26, 2018
Regarding the negative reactions to the Cousins deal, Durant said that he wasn’t surprised when fans blasted the Warriors for making themselves even stronger through the signing.
“It was expected. Nobody likes a great thing. Greatness is rare, it’s different, and people don’t like different, so I get it. But I think for DeMarcus I liked his approach, our approach to it, coming in, wanting it just to be about basketball, once you look at it that way, it works out perfectly.”
As the Warriors have typically relied on centers like Zaza Pachulia and Andrew Bogut, who were far better known as enforcers than scorers, Durant added that the Warriors will have to adjust to having a high-scoring big man like Cousins in the middle.
Reacting to Kevin Durant’s comments about LeBron James’ free agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, CBS Sports said that the Warriors forward’s praise wasn’t surprising, given that he and James are close friends, and how both previously used unconventional means to announce they were leaving their old teams. The publication added that it was “interesting” that Durant was impressed with how LeBron is “breaking down the barriers,” as both superstars have similarly engaged in high-profile investments away from the basketball court.