Even with the Golden State Warriors currently playing for a chance to win their third straight NBA championship, forward Kevin Durant — who has missed the first two games of the NBA Finals with a calf injury — is still expected by many to turn down his player option and sign with another team this summer. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are just two of the organizations thought to have the best chances of signing the former NBA scoring leader, but as Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley sees it, those two teams might not be the best destinations for Durant in free agency.
As reported by USA Today, Barkley commented about Durant while speaking at a teleconference for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament on Tuesday. When asked about the advice he’d give the Warriors superstar as he heads into the 2019 offseason, the Inside the NBA analyst said he’d tell Durant that for all his greatness on the court, he’s got “some of the thinnest skin” he’s ever seen.
Calling the ability to deal with criticism as the “toughest aspect” of moving to a new team, Barkley added that Durant might have a hard time dealing with New York-based reporters if he continues “arguing with these teenagers” on social media.
“He’s a great person, he’s a great player. don’t think he has the mental makeup to play in New York. That’s just my personal opinion.”
Kevin Durant received a lot of backlash from fans for signing with the talent-laden Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2016, following nine productive seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. As recalled by USA Today, Durant then found himself surrounded by controversy one year later after he apparently forgot to switch to his main Twitter account while speaking in the third person and defending his move to the Warriors.
Charles Barkley doesn't think New York is the right place for Kevin Durant.https://t.co/3o2uVjfyFS
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) June 5, 2019
As quoted by Complex, Durant opened up about his use of “burner” accounts in an interview with ESPN’s Jay Williams earlier this year, saying that he “wasn’t used to [the] amount of attention” he was receiving as an NBA superstar.
“I wanted a place where I can talk to my friends without anybody just butting in my conversations or mixing my words or taking everything out of context because I enjoyed that place,” he continued.
Barkley’s most recent comments about Durant not having the mental makeup to play for a New York team came close to three months after he made similar remarks in a conversation with Sports Illustrated‘s Jimmy Traina. As reported by The Inquisitr, Barkley opined to Traina that neither Durant nor Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving are “tough enough” to play for the New York Knicks — a team both players have frequently been linked to in free agency rumors — due to both players’ penchant for “complaining about the media asking questions.”