Apparently, some Thunder players still are not ready to move on from their anger at Kevin Durant. (Most Thunder fans would applaud that sentiment.)
Enes Kanter was willing to move on. The scoring big man for OKC was set to play in a summer pickup game with other NBA players such as LeBron James — a common thing, NBA players work out with each other all summer — when he got a text. Kanter laid it out on Timeout with Taylor Rooks podcast last week, via The Oklahoman.
“I’m not gonna tell who, but one of my teammates a couple weeks before that scrimmage game said, ‘If I see picture of you and KD’ – because he knows that KD lives in the same apartment as me – ‘don’t come back to OKC,’” Kanter said.
Kanter said he told the game organizer he wanted to be on the other team, and he was at first, but we all know how pickup games go, teams get switched around. Kanter ended up playing with KD for a stretch.
“He called me and said, ‘Did you talk to him?’” Kanter said. “He heard about the game so he asked me if I talked to him, if I was friendly or not, if I was on his team. I was like, ‘I was not on his team.’ He was like, ‘You’re lying. I watched. You were on his team.’ I was like, ‘Maybe I was on his team a little bit.’…
“First time he walked into the gym, it was awkward,” Kanter said. “But the stuff going on, it’s only on the court. Outside, I believe he’s a really, really nice guy. He’s always a chill dude. He came to me and said ‘What’s up?’ and of course I shook his hand.”
Most NBA players are quick to separate the business part of the game from the personal (something being a fan, by its nature, never really allows). Current players almost never criticize the move of a teammate to play where he wants or to chase a paycheck (in Durant’s case, it wasn’t about the money but rather the environment he wanted to play in). But that’s not universal.
Durant has moved on, and he’s got his ring (or, more accurately, his first ring). Some former Thunder teammates are still feeling betrayed.