Kevin Durant calls environment playing with LeBron James 'toxic;' says it ventures beyond the basketball court
Durant admits that the attention James receives isn't his fault, but says it's all just a massive distraction for teammates
Following James' signing with the Lakers, the team signed several veterans, who would certainly have to make sacrifices in order to play alongside a player of LeBron's caliber. However, Kevin Durant doesn't quite understand why anyone would want to play with LeBron because it makes for a "toxic" environment. From Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:
"So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people," Durant said. "He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I'm like, we're playing basketball here, and it's not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn't want to be in that environment because it's toxic. Especially when the attention is bullshit attention, fluff. It's not LeBron's fault at all; it's just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball."
Durant's comments don't make it seem like he is attacking James. It sounds like Durant is just pointing out that James' presence looms largely over a franchise and that other players have to make incredible sacrifices in order for a franchise to be successful over the course of the season. After all, veteran center Tyson Chandler signed with the team after being bought out by the Phoenix Suns and admitted just days before he signed that you have to "be able to coexist" with James.
"If you've got LeBron, you've got to make it all about LeBron," Chandler said. "You've got to be able to [coexist] with that and fit with that. Who are you, where are you in your career, and how do you fit in? It's a sacrifice, but it's a sacrifice for winning."
Durant, whose Warriors are back in action on Wednesday against the Cavaliers (7 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), also pointed out that Kevin Love and Chris Bosh were forced to ultimately alter their styles of play once James arrived with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, respectively.
"Kevin Love, he had to totally change his game to fit, to be a shooter," Durant said. "Which, I think, he deserves way more credit for switching his game. Bosh, same way. LeBron is a player that needs to play with guys that already know how they play the game -- and shooters. Like, young players that are still developing, it's always going to be hard because he demands the ball so much, he demands control of the offense and he creates for everybody."
These comments are certainly interesting considering that Durant could become a free agent this coming summer if he chooses to opt out of his current contract. It's been widely speculated that Durant could opt out and leave the Warriors due to his relationship with Draymond Green. Some of the destinations that have been laid out include the New York Knicks and potentially even the Lakers.
However, with Durant making it clear that it's hard to make sacrifices to share the court with a player like James, it's looking less and less likely that Los Angeles would be a desired destination for him.
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