US forward Kevin Durant (L) and US forwa

Durant not sure why you care he worked out with LeBron


Some fans want sports to live in this idealized old-school world where players share their passion for the name across the front of the jersey. (I’m not sure that was really ever the case, but that’s another debate.) As such, some Celtics fans don’t want their guys mixing with the Heat or Lakers during the summer.

But in a globalized, walls-are-down world that’s not now it works.

Which means when for a second summer Kevin Durant spent time working out with LeBron James, it bothered a few people. People apparently stuck in 1954, but people nonetheless. Kevin Durant heard those people and he really doesn’t get it, he told the Oklahoman.

“A lot of people blew (it) out of proportion,” the reigning three time scoring champion said. “It was just one day…

“I’m a competitive guy,” Durant said. “I’m sure you guys have seen that in me. I just wanted to work out. That’s what it was all about. I’ll work out with anybody. I would have worked out with Kobe Bryant. I would have worked out with Carmelo (Anthony). I just wanted to work out and get better.”

Durant and LeBron were both part of Team USA winning the gold in Beijing, so they spent a fair amount of time together this summer.

The “Durant shouldn’t work out with LeBron” argument dies here for me — do you really think this will make Durant any less competitive come the next time they meet? If you do, you don’t know Durant. Or LeBron. Or let me use this example from your life: When you line up to play basketball (or football or NBA 2K13 or…) against your brother or good friend, do you want to beat them more than some guy you don’t know? Damn straight. I go harder at guys I know because I want bragging rights.

So can we just let this go? Durant worked out for a day with the one guy on the planet who can really push his game. The one guy who can best challenge and make him better. This bothers you because… why? I don’ get it.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.