Giannis Antetokounmpo Takes Chilling Shot at Kevin Durant Following Nets Deal

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Getty Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets is defended by Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on May 02, 2021.

After being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns at the deadline, Kevin Durant has become a super team journeyman. He infamously joined the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016 and, after winning two championships, left the Bay to join the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving and James Harden.

Now, Durant adds to his list of super teams joining two former All-Stars, Devin Booker and Chris Paul. During an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Hasan Minhaj, Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis Antetokounmpo called out the ex-Nets star for his lack of leadership skills

“KD, you keep joining these super teams to win an NBA title. How about we work out together sometime so I can teach you how to carry your own team,” Antetokounmpo said on February 27.

However, Antetokounmpo was reading a script from an in-studio teleprompter, and the two-time MVP would immediately retract his statement about Durant and praise the newly acquired Suns star.

“KD, you’re one of the best scoring players to ever play this game,” Antetokounmpo said. “I respect your game. You’ve led by example for 15 years. You were my favorite player growing up, and I respect your game.”

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Charles Barkley Calls Out Kevin Durant

Durant’s decision to join the Warriors in 2016 was heavily criticized. Especially because Golden State had just eliminated him and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals a mere weeks before his decision.

Many debated the similarities and differences between his decision to go to Golden State and LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010. Many arguments cited that the year before LeBron’s arrival, the Heat got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, versus the Warriors, who were one game away from winning back-to-back titles the summer Durant joined.

However, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says there is no difference between the two decisions.

“First of all, there’s no difference,” Barkley told NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith during an appearance on ESPN First Take on February 27.

“But this is the problem — Kevin gets mad at me when I point this out — if you go back and look at LeBron, who I really admire and respect, he said this. I did not say this. He says, ‘I had to win a championship without Dwyane [Wade] to get old heads’ respect.’ … I hold Kevin Durant to the same criteria. … He’s an all-time great, but when it comes to being mentioned with some of these other guys, he going to have to win a championship where he’s the leader of the team, and he’s the best player.”

Nicolas Claxton Is Ready to Take the Next Step

The Nets have officially begun a new era following the departures of Durant and Kyrie. And while they were able to recoup some solid pieces in the blockbuster deals, they still do not have a clear star. With the talent level suffering a significant drop in Brooklyn, they will have to rely heavily on their defense moving forward. Nets starting center Nicolas Claxton believes that with the pieces Brooklyn has on the roster, they can be among the best defenses in the NBA.

“I think that we’ll be one of the best defensive teams in the league once we jell. I don’t want to say my job will be ‘easier,’ but we have a lot of wing defenders. I may not have to cover for as many people anymore as I had to do in the past, which will be nice,” Claxton said via The Ringer.

Claxton has gradually improved every year since he entered the league. But this year has been his breakout year, as he is averaging a career-high in nearly every statistical category. If Claxton can continue on this trajectory, he could be Brooklyn’s next big star. Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says that the next step in his development is playing with more speed.

“We’re talking about playing fast,” Vaughn said to The Ringer. “The best way to play fast is if he gets the rebound and is able to bust out. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s like the Holy Grail for me, that he would start it. Then imagine Spencer [Dinwiddie] and Mikal [Bridges] and [Cameron Johnson] running the wing, and he just finds them. Off we go.” Marks agrees: “I’d love to see more of that. Don’t just revert to ‘Where’s the point guard?’”

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