Kevin Durant teaming up with LeBron James in Hollywood could be in play, no matter how crazy it seems. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, free to sign with any team. Not to mention, KD has had some icy moments with Dubs coach Steve Kerr and teammate Draymond Green. With rumours circulating, Sports Illustrated make a good case as to why KD should join the Lakers, especially since LA will miss the playoffs this year and will need a saviour to come through. James is also not getting any younger; at 34 he is in the twilight of his career, which lately has been riddled with injuries. The Los Angeles Lakers, for their part, also have the cap space, the gravitas, and the fame to entice Durant.
Durant to the Lakers is possible
Yes, KD to the Lakers is possible. If that happens, the balance of power in the NBA will tilt overwhelmingly in favor of the Purple and Gold. Just imagine: James and Durant on one team! But that looks improbable. Durant has neither indicated nor intimated any interest in joining LeBron in Los Angeles.
More revealing are KD’s less-than-flattering comments on playing with The King. Durant pointed out in December the “toxic” environment that permeates a LeBron-led team:
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” the two-time NBA Finals MVP noted.
“. . . I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So, I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic.”
Fit seems to be an issue, too. Durant is in his athletic prime. There’s a good chance he wants to be a team’s alpha, not an overqualified co-star (to Stephen Curry) as he is in Golden State. The latter, however, will likely happen if KD does sign with the Lakers this summer. There, he’ll likely be Robin to LeBron’s Batman, and that will likely not appeal to Durant.
Who is the GOAT?
Then there’s Durant’s slight of LeBron and his place in the GOAT debate. Durant, also in December, called Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant “masters” and “geniuses,” and described them as “far better than anybody who’s played the game.” To be fair, Durant wasn’t the first to “dismiss” LeBron. Jordan himself did it, too, as you can read in Beyond the Game’s report about it.
Durant is effusive in his praise of Kobe and Jordan, in particular, calling them “the greatest talent and athletes and minds of the world.” KD even admits to being flattered when his coach told him about the legendary “Who’s Open?” Jordan story, juxtaposing his own position as main man to that of his idol.
Following in MJ’s footsteps
Simply, Durant deems Jordan the best. It’s thus likely KD wants to follow in MJ’s footsteps. But Jordan’s standing as basketball and global icon is unmatched. He has inspired so many basketball players around the world to be like Mike, a reference to the still iconic “I want to be like Mike” catchphrase coined in the early 1990s. He is even the inspiration behind the movie Like Mike, which is included in ExpatBets’ ‘Top 10 Basketball Movies Every Fan Should Watch‘. It’s about a young player who, yes, wants to be like the six-time champ.
Even in real life, basketball players want to be like Mike, and that makes Durant’s pursuit of Jordan understandable. He has a way to go, though, both on and off the court. At the very least, KD seems on his way, especially in terms of turning himself into a global brand. ESPN’s ‘Kevin Durant: The Making of a Mogul’ outlines his current ventures outside of basketball, the “cool stuff” that will allow him to build his brand. Durant already has a handsome deal with Nike, investments with multiple companies, and even a six-episode series on ESPN+ called The Boardroom.
Curiously, LBJ is closer to MJ in terms of basketball accolades and in being a global brand. That fact makes it highly unlikely then that Durant would want to be teammates with James. Reason being, KD needs to surpass LeBron to inch closer to Jordan status. He won’t be able to do that as The King’s superstar sidekick. Then again, nothing is set in stone. The basketball world will have to wait and see.