May 2, 2014, 8:33 PM EDT
Kevin Durant did exactly what he was supposed to do on Thursday, after his hometown newspaper admittedly missed the mark by blasting the Thunder star with a huge headline that dubbed Durant “Mr. Unreliable.”
This season’s MVP-to-be went out and scored 36 points to help force a Game 7 against the Grizzlies, one which should be a whole lot easier to win now that Zach Randolph has been suspended for a punch he landed to the face of Steven Adams.
As with any tidbit of controversy surrounding the game’s biggest stars, LeBron James was asked to weigh in on the situation. And he was more than happy to chide the paper for its treatment of the Thunder’s best player.
“I don’t think that was a great idea,” James said. “Not your hometown paper. Not with a team you helped to get to the NBA Finals, [and will] potentially be an MVP, a multiple scoring champ and have led his team to a place it’s never been before.”
James then paused briefly before referring to Durant’s potential decision to play elsewhere after his contract ends with the Thunder following the 2015-16 season.
“K.D.’s got to be a free agent at some point,” said James, who rocked the league when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons to sign with Miami as a free agent in 2010.
LeBron knew exactly what he had said, and reportedly joked with reporters that he had given them their national headline of the day. But there was some truth in there, as well.
If you really break it down, the headline thing was overblown, because it was ultimately just one person’s decision. But as the newspaper of record in a smaller market like Oklahoma City, it carries significant weight, and can help to influence the opinions of the town’s more casual sports fans.
Durant may some day leave in free agency, and so much more will happen between then and now that this little headline issue will have long become a distant memory. But a memory it will remain, and for that reason alone, LeBron is absolutely right.
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