When Clippers Almost Landed Kevin Durant After Intense Negotiation in 2016

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June 23, 2020 6:40 pm

Before the start of the 2016-17 season, a key player was part of the free agency period. The then seven-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. Los Angeles Clippers was one of the teams trying to get him in the team and Durant himself admitted that they made it a tough choice.

Playing for Oklahoma City Thunder after getting drafted in 2007, Kevin Durant established himself as a tremendous player in the league. He was named the Most Valuable Player in 2014 and had already earned four NBA scoring titles. The famous power forward was a big fish in the pond during his free agency period in 2016.

The Boston Celtics, LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and many other teams were finding a way to acquire Durant at that time. But after picking Warriors he mentioned how Clippers’ offer was difficult to turn down.

It was the Lob City version of Clippers back then with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. And they were making an effort to fit in Kevin Durant in their salary cap without touching the star-studded lineup. Well, it was a difficult move but more than the franchise, Kevin found the player list intriguing.

According to ESPN, Kevin talked about this in the morning practice. “Blake (Griffin), DJ (DeAndre Jordan), and CP (Chris Paul). That’s what made it interesting,” he added. “Those three guys are tremendous and unbelievable talents. They made it tough on me.”

Kevin Durant maintained ‘real’ friendship with Jordan even after joining the Golden State Warriors

One of the reasons Clippers could have attracted the 6 ft 10-inch talent easily was his close friendship with DeAndre Jordan. But Kevin defied it as any kind of pressure on him. He appreciated how Jordan never developed a bitter side for him after he turned down the offer by Clippers.

“More than anything, he was just a real friend. At the end of the day, he wanted me to come to the Clippers, but at the end of the day, he didn’t care. He was going to be my friend no matter what.” he commented on his equation with Jordan, via ESPN.

Kevin was touched by Jordan’s text saying congratulations after he joined the Warriors. The duo shares a healthy relationship between each other and the Warriors star was happy to appreciate it.

“I think when once you get to that point in your life where you can separate the two [business and friendships], it makes friendships even better. It makes relationships even better, and I think that’s the level we’re at right now.”

Ultimately, it wasn’t any money contract or the franchise efforts that pulled him towards Clippers. It was the players and he admitted it. “(The Clippers) made it tough So the players, that’s what made it tough, and they did a great job.”

Durant did attract heavy criticism for getting along with the star team, Warriors. Despite some incredible talent like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, he created his own impression as part of the team. He won two championships with them and each time earned the Finals MVP.

It will always remain a what-if had Kevin moved to Clippers in 2016. With time, we’ll see what he has for Brooklyn Nets in the upcoming seasons!

 

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