Kevin Durant isn’t worried about his relationship—or, rather, lack thereof—with members of the Oklahoma City Thunder organization.
Although he admits to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher that he still isn’t talking to Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison, general manager Sam Presti, et al., he’s confident that will all change over time:
Now, a month into his second season with the Warriors, Durant is raising his sights from insulting tweets to years down the road. He hasn’t reconciled with his former teammate, Russell Westbrook, nor his former GM, Sam Presti, and, yes, it also initially bothered him that OKC gave his No. 35 to PJ Dozier, who signed a contract that allows him to play for both the Thunder and their G League team, the Blue. But he says he has let go of his hard feelings, and he is convinced everyone on the other side of the OKC equation will do the same. Eventually.
“Those people really mean a lot to me to this day,” he says. “No matter if they talk to me or they’re mad at me. Whether it’s Sam Presti or Troy Weaver or Russell Westbrook or Nick Collison. Whether it’s Wilson Taylor or Clay Bennett and his family, I love them from the bottom of my heart. We’re not talking, but eventually we will.
This entire piece, for the record, is worth a read. It provides yet another example of an unplugged, candid Durant. You get some really nice insight into what he’s dealt with since leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors.
Anyway, Durant is right: All the residual awkwardness and resentment from his departure will fade with time. It may not happen this year, or next year, or even while he’s still playing in the NBA, but it will happen. This isn’t Ray Allen vs. Rajon Rondo. Durant and Westbrook and the Thunder all essentially grew up together. The two stars were there for the genesis of the Oklahoma City era. Others have gone on record saying they’ll be fine, and that they’re borderline cordial now. Distance from Durant’s decision will only help him reconcile with the rest of the people in the organization.
Sports, after all, aren’t reality’s the end-all, be-all—not even for the people who get paid to play them. Life goes on, and business-related grudges often dissipate. Given Durant’s rich history with the Thunder, this situation feels like one that’ll eventually work itself out.