In July 2010, Kevin Durant broke the news of his five-year contract extension with the Thunder via tweet. Six years later, he conducted a high-profile free agency in the Hamptons and bolted for the Warriors.
That change in approach is perfectly reasonable, but another tweet in July 2010 had many Durant critics crying hypocrisy when Durant joined Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson with Golden State, which had just eliminated Oklahoma City in the playoffs:
How could Durant criticize LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for teaming up with the Heat and then join the Warriors?
Durant on The Bill Simmons Podcast:
Let me clear this up, because a lot of people who talk to me about, I took a shot at him on Twitter.
If you go back and look at when I posted that, I posted that later in the month. You want to know why?
Because I seen — it was a fake article at that, so now, I was like, damn, I feel like an idiot. Penny Hardaway came out and said, “I would love to play for the Heat. I think I could help them win the championship.” And I’m like, “Come on, Penny. You’ve been out of the game. I played against you my rookie year. It’s like three years later, man. You’ve been out of the game for a while, man. What are you doing?” But it was a fake article. So I tweeted that.
And now everybody’s like, “Well, you was criticizing LeBron.” I signed an extension and right after LeBron decided to go to Miami, and I had a press conference, and a lot of people asked me about that, and I said, “Cool, for them. We play them three times, I can’t wait to play them. It’s going to be cool.”
But I didn’t criticize him. I was criticizing Penny Hardaway and this fake article I read.
So, a lot of people took that and ran with it.
This mostly checks out.
Hardaway stated and restated a desire to join the Heat before ending his comeback attempt a couple days later. He hadn’t played in the NBA in three years, at all productively in eight years or well in 10 years. But he actually said these things about joining Miami. It wasn’t fake news.
And Durant’s tweet came in the midst of Hardaway explaining his hope to return. It would have been strange for Durant to slam LeBron in a tweet nine days after The Decision.
Durant’s recollection of his comments about the top 2010 free agents were mostly accurate. Via a 2010 article in The Oklahoman:
“As a fan of the game, I’m excited for guys like LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh. Getting new contracts and getting to pick a team is a blessing so you can’t blame them for what they did.”
However, that was before The Decision. Only Wade and Bosh had picked the Heat at that point. Durant was praising the players for navigating free agency.
Overall, far too many facts match up with Durant’s account to believe he’s fibbing to cover up a LeBron diss.