Nets star Kevin Durant didn’t let himself get talked into returning to the Orlando Bubble.
Nets fans were no doubt disappointed when their championship odds for 2020 took a “hit” earlier in the month of June.
Despite mounting pressure from the media, Kevin Durant chose to maintain the status quo, and confirm that he’d be missing the remainder of a season he was never meant to participate in.
For someone who surely seems to believe in fate, it was refreshing to watch Durant not tempt it, keeping himself within his own boundaries to save his body for the remainder of his Nets tenure. After all, KD’s 2020-21 team should be an Eastern Conference favorite unless, of course, something should go catastrophically wrong this summer in Orlando.
No amount of logic could’ve prevented the New York Media’s clamoring for Durant’s premature return, though, for a 5% chance at a bonus title run that no one asked for, or even really wanted. Stefan Bondy was the loudest — he pasted some blurry iPhone footage together into an argument that might’ve caught Durant in a weak moment and convinced him to buck medical science.
Nets star Kevin Durant wisely stopped listening to New York media critics this week.
This is, of course, a flawed attempt to coerce Durant back to the court. Much of the evidence cited of his readiness comes from practice footage shot well before the pandemic hit. Bondy writes that “we can only assume” that Durant’s calf has been his focus throughout his workouts, which is an awful lot to hinge on an assumption. Instead of looking out for Durant’s long-term viability, he makes an argument crafted entirely from an idealized perspective, rooted in the idea that, “Last time we saw Durant, he seemed en route to a great place!” It conveniently leaves out, however, everything that happened the last time Durant ignored his conscience and tried to Hero Ball his way to a title: the torn Achilles that created this quandary in the first place, suffered in an ill-advised last-ditched Finals attempt.
And then, of course, there’s this: the clear health risk, increasing every day, which should make even the NBA’s most stable players uneasy.
Durant has no idea what his 2020 would look like on the court, at this point. Add in the coronavirus and a leaky bubble, where Disney employees are not required to stay isolated? KD would be insane to rush back.
Take it from…Bondy himself!
Wisely, Durant blocked out the noise and opted not to chase the minuscule chance that he could lead — without Irving by his side — an unqualified Nets team to a pedestal in 2019-20.
Whoever wins the title is likely to be met with a modicum of skepticism, if not an asterisk. If the Nets were to do so after adding Durant, that large, spiked pockmark would’ve covered an entire page of the NBA Record Book. It would’ve been the most frowned upon title in league history.
But it’s not going to happen, and it never was. And trying to convince Kevin Durant to participate in such a sham, after all he went through last year, making him uniquely the worst possible person to put such pressure on, is deserving of unending criticism.