Kevin Durant bounced from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors in a move that shook the Western Conference, and NBA in general.
“Their partnership produced four conference finals appearances, and one trip to the Finals, in the last six years. It also produced a simmering frustration that, in essence, paved the way for his exit.
Durant wanted an offense that kept the ball moving and provided him easier scoring chances. The Thunder fired coach Scott Brooks, brought in Billy Donovan, and still the offense stalled out at key moments, often with Westbrook dribbling into oblivion. The Thunder led the NBA in blown fourth-quarter leads last season, despite their firepower.
“Ultimately he got frustrated and felt that they had plateaued,” said a person with insight into Durant’s thought process. “[Donovan] came in,and he still had the same issues that he had with Russ under Scotty. The offense didn’t change much. He still had to take a ton of contested shots every game; and that’s when he had the ball at all.”
For all the ‘who will take the last shot’ questions he faced, Durant now heads to Golden State where he’ll attempt to fit in with three superstars, not one.
Where Westbrook heads from here remains an unknown. He could be traded, or he could hit free agency and figure it out from there.
Whether Durant left to escape Westbrook or not is unknown. What is known is that the Thunder need to get some return on Westbrook before losing a second star in just over a year.