An odd thing happened at the Golden State Warriors’ championship parade Tuesday.
No, instead this had to do with back-to-back Finals MVP Kevin Durant and the strange shots that were levied at him at the parade that he helped make happen.
On Monday, Warriors GM Bob Myers said he’s willing to give Durant “whatever he wants” in upcoming contract re-negotiations, with Durant expected to opt out of his current deal and become a free agent.
“Sometimes you don’t negotiate. I’d love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year, he did us a great service,” Myers told the Associated Press. “He’s earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants. I just want him to sign a deal.”
However, on Tuesday, during the parade, Myers’ tune seemed to change.
Interviewed on stage by broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald, when asked about his comments about giving Durant “whatever he wants,” Myers backtracked and called it a joke leading to a rather awkward exchange with even head coach Steve Kerr chiming in to take a little shot at Durant.
“[The Durant comments were] just for the media, he can’t have anything he wants,” Myers said.
“Mid-level,” Kerr added.
“Last year you told Steph [Curry] he could have whatever contract he wants, too,” Fitzgerald then followed up.
“That was different. [Curry’s] been here from the way-before days. He’s earned it,” Myers said.
“And there ended the Warriors’ cohesion right there,” Fitzgerald finished.
The entire exchange was just bizarre, especially for what should just be a fun celebration on another very successful Warriors season.
The point about Curry is particularly jabbing as he leveraged those same comments into a “super-max” contract last season, something that’s definitely on the table for Durant this summer as well.
So then, was this just some light-hearted chirping from Myers to Durant, or an indication that the Dubs may actually be thinking of just letting the former MVP and four-time scoring champ walk away?
Some further comments from Fitzgerald seems to suggest the latter, even if he is just a broadcaster.
“I’m gonna stand in front of KD,” Fitzgerald said. “Before his Warriors exit I want to enjoy as much time with him as possible.”
Even if this is all just in good fun, it seems dangerous to stir the pot with a player like Durant. It’s not just the fact he’s likely one of the three best basketball players on the planet, it’s also because he’s shown in the past he doesn’t take public criticism of himself very well.
As last year’s “burner” Twitter account incident showed, Durant doesn’t just let words wash over him. He very much internalizes what people say about him and uses that as fuel.
Will he now turn that fire against the team that helped bring him the championships that eluded him for so long in Oklahoma City?
The NBA off-season is just getting started.