Kevin Durant’s decision to move from the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets has brought back many memories of the moment he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. The original decision was one of the most talked-about free agent moves in the history of the game as many were shocked to see an MVP winner leave the Thunder to join the Warriors who were coming off a 73-9 season.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith this week revealed a story on the program “Get Up’ about how Durant had told teammate Russell Westbrook that he was staying in Oklahoma before moving to the Warriors the very next day.
Kendrick Perkins who played with both Durant and Westbrook has just confirmed Stephen A. Smith’s story when he spoke out in ESPN’s First Take.
“Stephen A. didn’t tell no lies,” said Perkins. “I didn’t get a chance to watch ‘First Take’ because I was flying yesterday morning, but Stephen A. Smith didn’t tell any lies. I don’t know how KD handled leaving Golden State … but I know that’s how it went down [in OKC] from my understanding.
Also, when he left OKC … you know people change their mind, so overnight he could’ve changed his mind or whatever the case may be. But Stephen A. Smith is right, we owe Russell Westbrook an apology … he was getting killed for being the main reason why Kevin Durant left OKC and that was never the case in the first place.”
“Stephen A. Smith didn’t tell any lies.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) July 4, 2019
After Smith revealed the story about Durant telling Westbrook and other teammates that he was staying, the two-time Finals MVP reached out to him to say that the story was false. With Perkins now backing up Smith’s story, it certainly seems a lot more of a realistic possibility.
When asked just one more time on the program, Perkins shares the story of how Kevin Durant left OKC:
“Yes, he was telling the truth,” said Perkins. “That’s what happened when he left OKC. Before he left, he had a meeting with Nick Collison, Royal Ivey, and Russell Westbrook and he told them he wasn’t leaving. Then he changed his mind and left. That’s what left a sour taste in Russell Westbrook’s mouth — he texted him and didn’t call him.
“From my understanding, it was just basically a text that said, ‘Hey, I’m leaving bro.’ It was nothing more and nothing less and I think he owed Russ more than that.”
There’s still certainly a lot of people who are disappointed with the way things ended for Durant in Oklahoma in 2016. This may be something that will need a lot more time for wounds to heal.