‘Everyone’s Hurt’: Former OKC Teammate of Kevin Durant Reacts to His Sudden 2016 Departure

Published 05/08/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 21: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant (35) question a call to a referee during the first half agains the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, October 21, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Golden State Warriors at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


It is always painful when a franchise player suddenly calls it a day and jumps on another boat. Be it Chris Paul (Hornets), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Dwight Howard (Magic), or Kawhi Leonard (Spurs), these stories are tough. One such tale of a franchise denial that changed the worlds of at least two legends came out when Kevin Durant left the OKC.

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KD was as synonymous with Thunder as Russell Westbrook, and people believed the two would bring the city it’s second trophy. However, in a terrible turn of events (for OKC), KD opted out of the team and broke the partnership. So how did his teammate feel once they learned the news?

Enes Kanter revealed the exact emotions that surrounded the locker room

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Enes joined the league as a Utah Jazz center, but soon joined the OKC in the 2014-15 mid-season. He played 180 games with the Thunder in 2.5 years and started 27 of those many games. The Turkish player was instrumental in their 2016 round 1 win over Dallas Mavericks and closely saw how the OKC marginally lost to the Warriors in the WC Finals that year.

Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant warm up at the 67th NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron Vs. Team Stephen at Staples Center on February 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

However, the point that potentially hurt him and his teammates more than that loss was Kevin Durant’s sudden departure. Hinting towards a betrayal, the 28-YO remembered in an interview, “We were so close that year. He was obviously a huge part of our family. When he left, we were all sad, because that year, we made the conference finals and we lost 4-3. We’re like, we know what we can do, let’s do it again next year. But once we saw the news, everyone’s hurt… We had no idea, I talked to many players, we had no idea. But in the end, that’s his life, that’s his career.”

Now KD’s reasoning that he needed a change did not go well with his former teammates because they were counting on him. 

OKC’s Russell Westbrook vs Warriors’ Kevin Durant

On November 03, 2016, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant faced each other for the first time. The Warriors won that game 122-96 with KD scoring 39 points and Russ challenging him with a 20-point double-double. Speaking about the rivalry, Enes added, “I’ve been in many conference finals, and that game for me was the wildest, more crazier than any game I’ve ever played. Was it a little too much? Maybe because of all the cupcakes, whatever, all those signs was crazy… It was wild, man. It was a game we will never forget ever.”

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Exactly one year later, on November 22, 2017, the clash between OKC and Warriors became a historic meeting. It took the ongoing beef between the former teammates to a whole new level with both the athletes facing off one another in a verbal exchange. A 34-point night by Russ stunned the Warriors in a battle that headlined for nasty reasons.

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What do you think? Was KD wrong at leaving the OKC without hinting at his teammates about it? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1279 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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