The story about how Kevin Durant told former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook he was joining the Golden State Warriors keeps getting more and more intriguing. It was assumed, after the two spent eight years together with the Thunder, going to four Western Conference finals and a Finals appearance, spending essentially their college years together, that there would be some sort of heartfelt discussion. A discussion that even if Russ didn't like it, he would understand and the two would part ways and remain friends.
When Durant was introduced, he said he talked to Westbrook and said how hard it would be, that they'll always be friends even though Russ wasn't "happy about it." In the aftermath of Durant's decision, league sources leaked to Bleacher Report that Durant was frustrated with Westbrook as a teammate, basically burying Westbrook on Durant's way out the door.
Then word came out later in July that Durant had never actually called Westbrook, and that Westbrook was "hurt and angry about it." And after Westbrook agreed to his contract extension Wednesday to stay with the Thunder, Durant said he would not call Westbrook as the situation is "touchy."
Let's examine this for a second. If Durant didn't call Westbrook, but spoke to him after the decision, how did Westbrook find out that his friend and teammate for the past eight years was leaving him to go join the team they had just fumed about in a fierce Western Conference finals matchup?
In a text message. Yup. More from The Vertical:
When Russell Westbrook traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with general manager Sam Presti in the aftermath of the franchise's lost weekend in the Hamptons, Westbrook held no interest for a post-mortem on Kevin Durant. For a front office still mired in angst and anger, Westbrook delivered a sobering splash of ice water: What's next?
No nostalgia, no reflection and no regret: In Westbrook's world, Durant had been deleted like his old teammate's text message saying goodbye on the way to Golden State.
Cold. Both Durant's way of telling him and Westbrook's reaction. This friendship is over for now.
There's probably a better way to handle telling Russell Westbrook you're leaving him behind.
In the wake of Durant's decision, much was made about Durant joining the Warriors and what it said about his character. It was made into a moral issue, his decision to join a super-team and leave OKC. I wrote extensively on why the decision itself was not a question of character. Durant was a free agent, and he gets to make whatever decision he wants.
But he texted this person he had accomplished so much with to let him know he was leaving and going to his rival, and he also didn't take out any ads in the Oklahoman to thank the fans. Durant seems happy with Golden State and excited for the next stage in his career. He maintains that he's the only person he needs to make happy.
But one person he clearly didn't make happy is Russell Westbrook.