Kevin Durant gets why certain guys wouldn't want to play with LeBron James


Programming note: Watch tonight's Warriors-Cavs game streaming live at 4:00 p.m. PT on the MyTeams app.

What would it be like to play on the same team as LeBron James?

"It depends on what kind of player you are," Kevin Durant told Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher recently. "If you're Kyle Korver, then it makes sense. Because Kyle Korver in Atlanta was the bulk of the offense, and he's not a No. 1 option at all, not even close. So his talents benefit more from a guy who can pass and penetrate and get him open.

"If you're a younger player like a Kawhi, trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn't really make sense. Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it's how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don't need another guy."

[RELATEDKevin Durant discusses challenge of being aggressive when Steph Curry on fire]

Initial reaction -- Kawhi Leonard is a "younger player?" This is his eighth season in the league and he is an NBA Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

It's possible that Durant meant that Kawhi is still morphing into the unquestioned focal point of the offense because this is just his second season of averaging more than 25 points per game. And perhaps joining LeBron would stunt Kawhi's development.

"Kevin Love, he had to totally change his game to fit, to be a shooter," Durant added. "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."

While some of LeBron's teammates this season in LA are established veterans -- Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Tyson Chandler -- he is playing alongside a bunch of promising young players who are still growing and learning.

Durant is a guy who clearly already knows how to play and is a fantastic shooter. So he definitely didn't say anything that implies he couldn't adapt his game to fit with LeBron.

[RELATEDNBA panel predicts Kevin Durant re-signs with Warriors in free agency]

But the two-time Finals MVP did say this:

"So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people. 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 bullsh** 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."

Commence the speculation about Durant's future...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Contact Us