The fourth of July in Oklahoma City was predictably steamy yesterday. However, despite the oppressive heat, around mid morning, it turned out to be a not so hot holiday for both the citizens and the town's NBA franchise.
Yes, Kevin Wayne Durant has flown the coop. He said the move had to do with desiring to personally evolve by getting out of his comfort zone.
Come on, let's face it, we can ignore Durant's self help platitudes. In the final analysis what he meant was he wants to score a NBA championship ring and he didn't see it happening any time soon in OKC. The same can't be said of his new outfit, the Golden State Warriors.
They got one last year and barely missed a second this past June. With Durant in the lineup the Warriors will be the odds on favorite to win the championship a little less than a year from now.
Durant's motives, whatever they are, didn't excuse the response of some local rubes who have conveniently forgotten all the good and decent things KD did off the court in this burg. You know, like donating a million bucks to the Red Cross in order to help suburban Moore recover from a devastating tornado three years ago. They've taken to social media with photos of Durant replica jerseys burning on patios. One clown showed up in today's daily paper wearing Durant's number 35 with his name taped over and the word, "Traitor," scrawled in marker ink on it.
Such useless behavior by a few assholes should be expected. After all, up until eight years ago this town had zero experience--unless you count the abbreviated stay of the then Hornets--with big league pro franchises. Before the Thunder hit town it was all college sports here. You were either an OU, or OSU fan and your guys stuck with your school. At least until they decided to bolt for the pros and the big money. And when they did none of the faithful whined or burned jerseys. Certainly not when Roy Williams and Sam Bradford made early exits to the NFL. The same will be the case when Samaje Perine leaves after this football season.
Indeed, the general consensus will be the usual, thanks for the thrills and good luck. Of course, none of those people will show up next year trying to beat the home team, which is exactly what Durant will do, but let's take things one at a time right now.
The truth is the NBA is a business and in business there are changes for reasons that have nothing to do with loyalty. Just ask those dead fish slinging losers up in Seattle. For God's sake the last thing we want to do is behave like they did after Clay Bennett and the gang moved the Sonics here.
Besides, Thunder Heads, you should probably get used to it. The last year of Russell Westbrook's contract begins in October and next summer you can count on the Lakers offering him everything up to and including the deed to Knott's Berry Farm in order to lure him back to his home town.
That's if he's even here by the end of next season. The Thunder didn't get squat in exchange for Kevin Durant. Chances are better than even they're going to avoid the same sort of disaster in the case of Westbrook. If management doesn't think they can re-sign him, look for the OKC point guard to be shipped off to parts unknown for a bevy of flashy new talent.
Hey--it might not be what everyone wants, but if the deal does go down it will be a business decision made by business people. That's what happens when everyone, including the players, are in the game, not for the love of alma mater, or a town, but a big fat paycheck.
sic vita est