Kevin Durant’s nationwide revenge tour against the biggest pundits in sports media continued on June 2. The latest victim of the Brooklyn Nets star’s attacks is “First Take” analyst Stephen A. Smith. Smith had one of his most head-scratching takes during a recent episode of ESPN’s flagship show, stating that NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan made the game of basketball ‘worse’.
“He was so phenomenal that the NBA marketed the individual, the audience gravitated toward the individual, and the game became a bit more individualized,” Smith said.
Smith’s commments, of course caught the attention of Durant, an avid Twitter user. KD took the opportunity to slam analysts such as Smith, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless. In the process, Durant added in a hot take of his own about his former teammate, Steph Curry.
“My theory is that guys like Steve, Skip and Shannon have changed the game for the worse,” Durant said per his Twitter account on June 2. “Playas like Stephen [Curry] and Michael [Jordan] can only push the game forward.”
Smith, an often outspoken analyst, didn’t let the conversation end there, as he had a sharp response for the two time NBA Finals MVP.
“News for you [Kevin Durant], we ain’t going any damn place,” Smith said via his Twitter account. “For every Stephen A. Smith, Skip, [Shannon Sharpe]and others, there’s thousands more coming down the pike. We’re not going away. We multiply. Sorry!!!!”
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Warriors GM Praises Kevin Durant for Allowing Sign-And-Trade
When Durant left the Golden State Warriors, it shook up the basketball world. He had just ruptured his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, an injury that takes more than a year to recover from. And what better place to recover, than with a core of Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, who had just won 73 games the year before he arrived. But ultimately, Durant chose to leave the Warriors and join the Brooklyn Nets.
Ironically, it was Durant’s move to Brooklyn that was the catalyst for a quick Warriors rebuild that has landed them in this year’s NBA Finals. Durant helped the Warriors execute a sign and trade that sent him to Brooklyn and allowed them to recoup assets following his departure.
“All in the wee hours of the night on the East Coast. I was in New York with (assistant general manager Mike) Dunleavy in a suite up ’til 3 or 4 in the morning East Coast time trying to get that all done. The rest of the group had a midnight meeting with [D’Angelo] Russell that Joe [Tsai] was at and a couple of other front-office people in L.A. after the bell rang so we could investigate if we might be a place for him to come. We kind of split ranks to try to do all this,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said to “The Athletic” via NetsDaily.
“Brooklyn could’ve said no, Kevin could’ve said no. We’re thankful. It at least gave us a chance. Thankfully, we had some equity with Kevin and Rich (Kleiman), his agent.”
Durant Sign-And-Trade Helped Warriors With Quick Rebuild
Durant helped execute a sign-and-trade that landed the Warriors D’Angelo Russell and sent him to the Nets. At the 2021 trade deadline, Russell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins, who was a first time All-Star with the Warriors this season. In addition, they got the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, which they used to draft Jonathan Kuminga, who has been a major key for the Warriors in their playoff run.
Just three years removed from a catastrophic 2019 playoff run which ended in both Durant and Klay Thompson suffering major injuries, the Warriors are four wins away from their fourth title since 2015. It will be interesting to see if they can get it done.