The Golden State Warriors are still trying to figure out Kevin Durant.
Sure, they know this partnership is going to yield lucrative returns. It already has. The Warriors won 67 games last season, went 16-1 during the playoffs en route to a title and saw Durant nab the NBA Finals’ MVP award.
And yet, his offseason behavior—punctuated most recently by since-deleted Twitter responses that both threw jabs at the Oklahoma City Thunder and suggested he meant to post from a secret account he uses to interact with critics—has them confused, according to The Vertical’s Chris Mannix:
The Warriors will open training camp Friday and maybe then things will get back to normal. The sneaker tiff with Curry seems to have blown over, and by addressing the Thunder tweets he saves himself from having to later. But make no mistake: Many in Golden State, team officials and players alike, have taken note of Durant’s oddball offseason and are perplexed by it. They see a bright future for Durant in Oakland, league and team sources told The Vertical, and are bewildered as to why he is still addressing his past.
Can you really blame the Warriors? Their level of concern probably isn’t high; their culture has trumped all over the past few years. But Durant’s summer has, in fact, been freaking odd. He’s taken shots at Under Armour, a brand endorsed by teammate Stephen Curry. The Twitter thing is flat-out bizarre. He’s even copped to at first regretting his decision to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State.
That latter development isn’t something to significantly decry or worry about. In general, we complain about athletes not being real enough. Durant’s admission that he grappled with leaving the only NBA team he’s ever known for a market that dwarfed the one he previously played in certainly qualifies as real. That sort of candidness, that genuine display of vulnerability, is something we should appreciate, because it means he’s human. Some people are uncomfortable with that, because they want their athletes to be larger than life, existing above their own traits and shortcomings and vulnerability. Really, though, it should come as refreshing that Durant is willing to open up—to, at times, provide more than the silhouette of his real self we get in postgame interviews and fluff pieces.
As for the other stuff, most notably the Under Armour comment and Aliasgate, it’s a little weird. But Durant’s offseason, however awkward, won’t actually do anything to hurt the Warriors. It’s fodder for the NBA’s “down” period, and hardly much more.