People have been trying to speculate this whole off-season as to why Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors. Was it a clash with Russell Westbrook? Did he feel that he was not going to win in Oklahoma City with such a deep Western Conference? Did he want to win on a team that has the best chances of doing so?
No one but Kevin Durant knows the true answer behind this, but there are some reasons to speculate, beyond the on court problems, that caused Kevin Durant to take his talents to Golden State.
Royce Young of ESPN explains that Durant may have not been a fan of being ‘put on a pedastal’
Durant always appeared to be the perfect fit with Oklahoma City, with his humble nature and down-home demeanor. But he also was drawn to a bigger city, not necessarily for the brighter lights, but for the ability to blend. In Oklahoma City, Durant carried a larger-than-life burden everywhere he went. He’d privately lamented to friends an inability to be in public.
This is an interesting story for Durant because Westbrook plays into this more than a lot of people would assume. Kevin Durant wanted to be in a place where he can win, period. He was not about being the guy on a team that was going to always come up short. He had felt that for too long in Oklahoma City, starting in 2011, with losing in the NBA Finals. Losing to the Warriors was what set him over the edge, because he knew that the Warriors were a team that is set up to be a dynasty for so much longer than the Thunder can be. He chose to take his talents there because he wants a ring more than anything else.
Westbrook, on the other hand, has a completely different mindset. He has said that he did not like the notion of joining a team with superstars already. He wants to be the guy where he goes. Westbrook gets that if he gets to stay in Oklahoma City. He also can get that if he decides to leave as well because he will be the star wherever he goes. If he’s as hungry for the spotlight as commonly suggested, Oklahoma City provided plenty of attention for it because they are really the only thing going on in town.
In the end, Durant wanted to be somewhere where the celebrity stardom is something of second nature. You get that with the rising tech industry of San Francisco. It would be the complete opposite in Oklahoma City, where his luck was running out.