Golden State Warriors adviser and NBA legend Jerry West spoke to free agent Kevin Durant over the phone on Saturday night, as first reported by the Mercury News' Tim Kawakami. West, whose Los Angeles Lakers teams lost seven times in the NBA Finals before winning a championship in his 12th season, told Durant, who has been to the Finals once, that those losses still eat at West today at 78 years old, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard:
West spoke to Durant from the perspective of an all-time great player who kept falling short of winning an NBA championship. While West won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972, he lost his first 7 trips to the NBA Finals and finished 1-8 in the Finals overall. West, 78, told Durant those losses still eat at him to this day, according to sources.
West also told Durant that playing alongside the Warriors' star trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would make it much easier on him. West opined that in Oklahoma City, most of Durant's shot attempts are difficult and contested.
According to ESPN, West also said that if Durant joined the Warriors, he'd be more appreciated for his all-around game, and he'd have a much easier time scoring. It's hard to argue with any of these points, but it's completely unclear if they will trump Durant's loyalty to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise that drafted him nine years ago and came close to eliminating Golden State in the Western Conference finals this past season.
Durant has reportedly told teams that he will make his decision on Sunday night or Monday morning. According to the Mercury News, Warriors executives think that Durant likes the idea of joining the team but isn't sure if he can or should leave Oklahoma City.
If Durant is only concerned with playing next to the best players and giving himself the greatest chance to win a title, then Golden State should probably be the favorite here. This is probably a good time to remember that he said this would be "a basketball decision." In reality, though, this is a basketball decision and an emotional decision and a financial decision all rolled into one. No one knows how much influence West's talk will have on Durant, just like no one knows if Tom Brady's presence at the Boston Celtics' pitch meeting helped them just yet.