NBA rumors: Kevin Durant wants to be seen as better than LeBron James


NBA rumors: Kevin Durant wants to be seen as better than LeBron James

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

LeBron James has held the title of "best basketball player in the world" for about seven or eight years now.

In the eyes of many, Kevin Durant has been considered the second-best player alive for the last five or six seasons.

LeBron and Durant went head-to-head in the 2017 NBA Finals, and here were the results:
Durant -- 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.0 steals, 55.6 percent overall, 47.4 percent from deep, dagger 3-pointer over LeBron in Game 3, Finals MVP
LeBron -- 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.4 steals, 56.4 percent overall, 38.7 percent from deep

In the post-Finals narrative, there was no "changing of the guard" commentary as LeBron still was considered the top dog -- which didn't (and presumably still doesn't) sit well with Durant.

From Ethan Strauss of The Athletic:

Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time ... KD, who was “tired of being second” way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory.

He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who’s employed Durant longer than any team. Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP’s baskets.

Looking back at it, Durant must have been pretty frustrated with what Steve Kerr told ESPN's Zach Lowe after Golden State claimed the 2017 NBA title.

"LeBron's the best player in basketball. We know that," Kerr declared. Although the Warriors coach added, "KD is right there with him," it was clear Durant was No. 2.

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Fast forward to today, and you have people like ESPN's Max Kellerman say Durant might not be a top-five player at this point (which is beyond ridiculous). Durant hears all of this kind of stuff, and it impacts him.

Now that the Durant-to-the-Knicks rumors have heated up, the 10-time All-Star hasn't spoke to reporters in over a week. He's in somewhat of a funk, and it's unclear when we'll hear from him again.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Kevin Durant vs. Chris Broussard beef continues, reporter defends himself

Kevin Durant vs. Chris Broussard beef continues, reporter defends himself

The Kevin Durant vs. Chris Broussard beef has reached Round 3. 

FOX Sports' Broussard went on FS1's Undisputed Thursday morning to continue his feud with the Warriors' star forward. 

"He [Durant] has every right to get on social media and clap back," Broussard said. "Now, what he doesn't have a right to do is lie." 

After Broussard said Wednesday that he and Durant have texted for hours before, KD responded that the reporter doesn't even have his number. Perhaps he took Broussard too literal. 

About 10 hours later, Broussard expanded on his side of the story from the front seat of his car. Broussard said some of the conversations "lasted more than five hours." 

"He slid into my DMs," Broussard said on Thursday. "He's hit me on Instagram direct message, Twitter direct message, and that's how we've communicated. I do have a cell number for him that he gave me years ago, that I'm sure is old now. But I have 60-plus direct messages from him in the past year or so. 

"If anybody can prove that I was lying yesterday, then fire me." 

The argument stems from Broussard saying Monday that Durant's "worst nightmare" is happening as the Warriors swept the Trail Blazers with him rehabbing a strained right calf. 

[RELATED: Steph vs. KD Warriors debate explained by Nick Wright]

And now we wait for KD's response before the inevitable Round 4.

Steph Curry vs. Kevin Durant-Warriors debate explained by Nick Wright

Steph Curry vs. Kevin Durant-Warriors debate explained by Nick Wright

The NBA playoffs are a long second season. This year, the postseason began on April 13 with the NBA Finals starting on May 30. With the Warriors sweeping the Blazers in the Western Conference finals, Golden State gets over a week of rest. 

And with all that time, comes a whole lot of rumors and talking points. Especially when it comes to Kevin Durant and the Warriors. 

As Durant rehabs his strained right calf, his fellow superstar teammate Steph Curry went berserk in the conference finals, averaging 36.5 points, 7.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds per game. Curry's resurgence in the playoffs, naturally begs the question -- who's more important to the Warriors? 

Nick Wright of FS1 further explained the debate Thursday morning on First Things First. 

"On the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry is the best player," Wright said. "He is the most important player, he is the most valuable player. Now if both were free agents, the New York Knicks would rather have Kevin Durant, because outside of them in this ecosystem, Durant probably is the more versatile player." 

[RELATED: Sense within Warriors that KD leaves this summer]

It's hard to argue against Wright's points in this case. Curry is the main block that built the Warriors up from laughing stock to dynasty. Adding Durant turned them into an unbeatable force, winning NBA Finals MVP the past two seasons. 

The Knicks might value Durant over Curry more if both were free agents this summer, but they probably wish they were able to draft Steph instead of Jordan Hill 10 years ago even more.