When the Philadelphia 76ers welcomed the Brooklyn Nets to the City of Brotherly Love this week, there was more on the line than just a win or loss. No, it was Ben Simmons’ first game back in Philadelphia after sitting out all of last season and the acrimonious end to his Sixers career.
But more than that, it was a chance for Sixers fans to watch one of the greatest players in NBA history: Kevin Durant. The forward is on an MVP tear so far this season, singlehandedly keeping a scandal-ridden Nets team in contention. And, per usual, Sixers’ fans couldn’t help but taunt Durant from the sidelines. But Durant, not one to back down, dished out the trash talk right back.
“I can’t hear your drunk a**,” Durant chirped at the fan.
Durant’s talk is especially bold, considering that Durant might well become a Sixer in the not-so-distant future.
Sixers Have Interest in Acquiring Kevin Durant
According to Heavy Sports insider Sean Deveney, the Sixers have almost certainly inquired about Durant at a time when the Nets are once again under a mountain of internal and external scrutiny.
“There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.”
There’s little indication that the Nets are interested in moving on from Durant, despite the dumpster fire that’s ensued in Brooklyn for much of the season. But if the Nets did have interest in moving Durant, they might be hard-pressed to find a better deal than one that includes Philadelphia’s young star Tyrese Maxey.
The question remains, though, whether Durant has skin thick enough to make it in Philadelphia. After losing to the Sixers this week, he dropped his own take on Sixers fans’ treatment of Ben Simmons.
Durant Sounds Off on Fans After Loss to Sixers
Durant knew the stakes heading into the Sixers game.
“It’s a lot of emotion, a lot of you just want to play well,” Durant told reporters. “You know the fans are going to be involved and be excited, not excited but bring their best. That’s with every arena. Everybody wants to see our team fail, nobody likes Ben [Simmons], nobody likes Ky [Kyrie Irving], nobody likes myself, so it might be like that at every road arena, you know what I’m saying? So, it’s just something that we have to deal with. I thought he did a great job of just handling it and playing his game and we had a chance to win, and we just didn’t.”
It’s questionable whether Durant really can claim the “no one likes us” card. After all, the NBA world is rightfully upset at Irving after he circulated an anti-Semitic video on social media and Simmons has shown a general unwillingness to live up to his astronomic potential.
For the Sixers, seeing the Nets struggle must be cold comfort. After all, the Sixers’ end of the Simmons trade hasn’t been all roses, either, as James Harden continues to miss time with an injury.