Kevin Durant has decided to wuss out and join the enemy. He must think that a manufactured title is better than no title – just look at Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone (who joined the enemy too late).
The sad thing is that Durant could easily have won it all right where he was and been the best player on a championship team. It is now highly unlikely that this will ever happen in his career. If he’s lucky, he’ll go down as one of the best championship second bananas of all time.
If you’re one of the best five players in the world, the only thing that should matter is being the best player on a championship team with the limited time you have around your prime. This is what the legacies of those in the NBA pantheon are built on. There are no exceptions. There’s plenty of time to hook on as a role player on a championship contender later if it all fails.
Although LeBron manufactured his first two titles via free agency when he moved to Miami, at least he was clearly the best player on the team (even if it took a whole season for Wade to accept second banana status). But even then, you could see the impact it had on his legacy as those titles weren’t earned. LeBron spectacularly managed to repair his legacy by the skin of his teeth by coming back to Cleveland and delivering a drought breaking title. He did it as an underdog and the public were overwhelmingly behind him.
Durant ain’t LeBron – once his contract with Golden State is up, it is inconceivable that he could lead any team to a title as its best player, let alone OKC (i.e. in the manner LeBron has done).
All of this can only be taken as an admission from Durant that he knows he is not quite good enough. The sad thing is we’ll never know as he gave up too soon.