Kevin Durant does not believe LeBron James joining him as a member of the Golden State Warriors is a possibility.
James was powerless to stop his Cleveland Cavaliers being swept by the Warriors in the NBA Finals, Durant again playing a starring role as Golden State eased to a third title in four seasons.
With the option to opt out of his contract at his disposal, James is, for the third time in his career, faced with a huge free agency decision over whether to remain with the Cavs or try to challenge the Warriors with a different team.
There has even been the suggestion that James will enter discussions with the Warriors but Durant, named Finals MVP for the second successive year, does not see the four-time MVP linking up with Golden State.
Asked about James on his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Durant said: "I just don't think that'll happen. I don't want to go there. Someone who's listening is going to write something. I don't know. I'll stay on my side, for sure."
Durant, who endured serious scrutiny when he joined the Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, later said he thinks "a lot of players might be too afraid to come and play for us".
"The backlash is a lot, I don't know if they're ready for that," he added. "My pitch for every free agent: You might get some backlash, but you might get one of these [the Larry O'Brien Trophy]."
If anyone can handle the backlash as well as Durant, it is James. No matter where he decides to play next season he will face a degree of criticism comparable to that of when he left Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010.
However, with four highly paid All-Stars already on the Warriors' roster, they do not appear a credible destination for James. Golden State will likely focus their efforts on completing a new deal for Durant and retooling their bench.