Warriors winning title would diminish Kevin Durant's legacy, Nick Wright says

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Wright believes Dubs winning title would diminish KD's legacy originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors brought Kevin Durant to the Bay Area in the summer of 2016 with a clear goal in mind: Add one of the most lethal scorer's in NBA history to an all-time great team, giving them a leg up on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After collapsing in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors knew they needed something else to counter LeBron.

And Durant provided exactly that, helping the Warriors defeat LeBron and the Cavs in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals. And KD took home Finals MVP both years, hitting dagger 3-pointers in Game 3 each year.

But a lot has changed since the last time Durant raised the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award. He torn his right Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, which the Warriors ultimately lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games. Then he left in free agency, pursuing a partnership with his good friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

Three years later, the Warriors are back in the NBA Finals without Durant, while the four-time NBA scoring champ hasn't had the success with the Nets he envisioned, with the latest setback coming in the form of the Boston Celtics sweeping Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs in April.

Naturally, now that the Warriors have returned to the Finals without Durant, questions about his legacy have started to pop up -- fair or unfair. Golden State won a title without him and now have a chance to win one without him.

During a discussion Friday morning on Fox Sports' "First Things First" show, personality Nick Wright spoke to Chris Broussard about what it would mean for KD if the Warriors win the 2022 NBA title over the Celtics or Miami Heat.

"I don't think it's unfair to say that folks who already had questions about Durant's championships in the Bay Area, even though he won Finals MVP and was, and I want to make this very clear, utterly exceptional in those Finals," Wright said. "Some Finals MVPs like Tony Parker in 2007, it's like 'All right, somebody's got to win it, I guess give it to Tony.' Kawhi [Leonard's] in 2014, it's like 'OK, somebody's got to win one. [He averaged] 17 points a game, give it to Kawhi.' Durant was unbelievable in those Finals and deserved Finals MVP.

"However, if the Warriors win a title before he gets there and now they're back in the Finals and might win a title without him -- if after LeBron left Miami, if [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh two years later won a title, that wouldn't be great for LeBron. If the year [Michael] Jordan retired to go to baseball, if [Scottie] Pippen -- that Bulls team was good, they won 50-some games -- but if they won the title [Broussard], even you, wearing your Jordan pajamas to bed would be like 'Well, that's something. It's not great.'

"And so I don't think it's unfair, I don't think it's picking on Durant to say if this core, Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], won a title before him and now they are back in the Finals in the same year Durant loses in Round 1 and the only team swept in these whole playoffs, one could say these playoffs went as poorly as possible for Durant's legacy. I think that's right."

For what it's worth, Durant isn't buying into this kind of legacy talk.

Durant's legacy in the Bay Area is set. He came, he conquered and he decided he wanted a new challenge. Whenever the Warriors decide to honor the title teams from the last decade, Durant will have a statue somewhere outside Chase Center and his jersey likely will be raised to the rafters.

RELATED: Bazemore "sick" Warriors in NBA Finals after leaving for Lakers

If the Warriors indeed are able to win their fourth NBA title in the last eight seasons, it assuredly says more about the foundational core players of Curry, Thompson, Green, Iguodala and head coach Steve Kerr than it does about Durant.

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