Wizards

Beal, Durant: D.C. fans cheering for Thunder star is 'disrespectful'

Wizards

Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal are on the same team when it comes to this, before the Oklahoma City Thunder arrive to square off the Wizards on Tuesday: They don't want Verizon Center fans cheering their favorite son in an attempt to placate him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. In fact, both loathe it. 

"It is disrespectful because he plays for Oklahoma City," said Beal, who is questionable because of a sore left shoulder, when asked if he agreed with Durant's assessment. "He doesn't play for Washington."

Earlier in the day, Durant spoke about his experience playing here last season. While he's a native of D.C. and the Wizards (3-3) have made moves to clear cap space to make a run at him in 2016, the adoration makes him uncomfortable.

"It was cool to see all my family there but if our team did that to somebody coming into our arena, I wouldn't like it. I didn't really like it," Durant told reporters after practice in Oklahoma City. "We're playing a really good team in the Wizards, a great team. Great young talents. Good coach. I think that was disrespectful so I didn't like it."

Wizards center Marcin Gortat was more understanding, knowing that's how fans can be and doesn't take it personal.

"They are fans. At the need of the day, they pay my salary. They can do whatever they want to do," said Gortat, who is in the second year of a five-year, $60 million contract. "Kevin Durant has a huge fan base. Wherever he goes he's got thousands of people cheering for him. We can't be mad about that. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have some fans that cheer for us and hopefully we're going to get a win because we need that win."

 

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Jared Dudley, in his ninth NBA season and first in Washington, has seen a lot. 

"He appears to (not want) to be the center of attention when it comes to that. A more down-to-earth type of guy where he's one of the guys. You can respect that," Dudley said. "I can understand why fans want him to come. He's a top three players in the world, he's from D.C. and a player like that can change you from getting to the Finals to possibly winning the Finals. It goes both ways."

Durant coming to the Wizards would be a game-changer. It's still a year away but it'll continue being a hot topic until there's a resolution less than a year from now.

"That's why the NBA is better than a lot of sports. ... In basketball, one or two stars going to a different team, your expectations are different," said Dudley, who is an unrestricted free agent next summer and acknowledged he might not be around to see what happens first-hand. "This is a star league and he's a top three player. ... Hopefully he does (come to D.C.)."