New stories and anecdotes surface, and they provide some insight into KD's mindset and possibly help explain why he left in free agency.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr was a guest on Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball 2.0" podcast, and the two had the following exchange:
Simmons: "My theory -- I'm not sure if I'm right -- but I think he thought when he won the title that first year ... and he really outdueled LeBron -- I think leaving that series, people were like, 'Wow, that guy was just better than LeBron in a Finals,' -- and he thought that was gonna be it: 'KD made the right move.'
"And instead people were like, 'F--k that guy, we're still not giving it to you.' And I could feel it in him in the interviews, this kind of, 'What else do I have to do? I just went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and I won. What else do I have to do?'"
Kerr: "You nailed it. The same reason we got Kevin in the first place was the reason we lost him -- he was restless. His first year with us, he was a sponge and he would ask questions constantly. It's a very different style of play and he was playing with different players. I think he embraced it and he enjoyed it.
"The following year, I felt like Kevin started to drift. My feeling was he started to get restless, like, 'This is all there is? We won the title last year, we're rolling again this year, but whatever it is I'm searching for, I'm still not finding it.'
"We had a really good thing and then you could just feel it start to slip. And I don't know if it was what you mentioned -- Kevin felt like he was now the King of the NBA, but nobody was recognizing him for that. He dominated LeBron in those Finals."
Simmons: "I could feel him -- just in various interactions -- really frustrated with that."
Kerr: "Yeah, yeah."
Simmons: "Almost like, 'I'm just never gonna get the credit for this, and I thought I would, and now I'm not. So now what?
Kerr: "Right, right. Yeah."
First off, Simmons is referring to podcast conversations he had with Durant in late March 2018.
Now, as for the LeBron angle ... that is very, very interesting for two reasons.
Number one -- two days after the Warriors won the 2017 title, Kerr was a guest on the "Lowe Post" podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe and said:
"LeBron's the best player in basketball -- we know that."
He immediately followed up with: "And KD is right there with him."
Hmmmmmmmm. Perhaps Kerr's declaration is why KD started to sour on his coach?
Number two -- Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wrote the following back in February:
Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game's top player, a mantle he's craved for some time ... KD, who was "tired of being second" way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory.
He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who's employed Durant longer than any team. Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP's baskets.
That's worthy of another "hmmmmmmmm," right?
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Steve Kerr discusses 'Kevin Durant jealous of LeBron James' narrative originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area