Kevin Durant's gripes with the media are well-known. The Brooklyn Nets star burner accounts on Twitter to defend himself from fans that criticized him, and has publicly gone after media members he considers uninformed by labeling them "blog boys," but in his new book, "The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty," Ethan Sherwood Strauss details many of the insecurities Durant had towards his own teammates.
Most famously, that included Stephen Curry. In his book, Strauss details an incident from the 2018-19 season in which Durant disagreed with a story that he wrote. When Durant approached him to argue about it, he wound up launching into a tirade about the media's treatment of him in comparison to Curry.
"I tried to make a few points, saying I didn't begrudge him for having leverage with his contract, and insisted that I had good reason to write what I wrote. KD wasn't impressed and accused me of trying to "rile up Steph's fans."
He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph's ass at his expense. This was KD's consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense.
In one such exchange that foreshadowed things to come, he was asked by the WarriorsWorld account whether two-time MVP Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving was the better player. "I gotta really sit down and analyze it," Durant demurred."
The story that initially angered Durant was based on his role in the offense. Specifically, Strauss argued that Golden State sacrificed efficient offense in the name of placating Durant, who was mere months from free agency.
"It often appears that many of these plays are called to make Durant happier, much as nobody with the Warriors would admit that Durant must be made happy at the occasional cost of efficient play," Strauss wrote. "Perhaps not so incidentally, Durant now registers about half as many off-ball cuts to the basket as he averaged in his first Warriors season. Basically, if the offense isn't directly involving KD, KD is not so inclined as to involve himself in the offense."
While not a direct response to that story, Durant inadvertently confirmed its broad strokes in a September interview with J.R. Moehringer of The Wall Street Journal, arguing that Golden State's system needed more individual shot-creation, exactly what Strauss indicated that the Warriors allowed for his benefit.
"The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point," Durant said. "We can totally rely on our system for maybe the first two rounds. Then the next two rounds we're going to have to mix in individual play. We've got to throw teams off, because they're smarter in that round of playoffs."
While Durant didn't answer the Curry vs. Irving question in the moment, he did later name Irving as the point guard when listing the best possible team he could create using only players he has played with. He also willingly left Curry's team to sign with the Nets alongside Irving. His professed preference for isolation play is a possible explanation for why. While Curry is widely considered the superior player and has the trophies to back that up, Irving is perhaps the best one-on-one scoring point guard in the NBA. Curry is a perfect fit within the motion offense that seemingly frustrated Durant.
Perhaps that fueled his apparent issues with Curry and his representation in the media, or perhaps it was simply a local preference for a homegrown star. In any case, as angry as Strauss' reporting made Durant, many of his claims have been either directly or indirectly proven as true. Durant will have his chance to claim a new city for himself when he returns to the court next season, but the New York media is hardly forgiving to players who don't hold up their end of the bargain. The challenges presented by Golden State may be in the rearview mirror, but he still has plenty of media issues to contend with in the near future.