When it comes to putting issues aside, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook should take a tip from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
From NBA media reports
The most interesting teammate tandem in the All-Star Game will be Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The two were teammates in last year’s game and the tension was evident during practice, when they didn’t interact, and also somewhat during the game, when they interacted only because, well, millions were watching.
They should take a tip from the second most interesting tandem — LeBron James and Kyrie Irving — and bury the hatchet.
Any thought of LeBron holding a grudge against Irving for demanding and getting a trade to the Celtics last summer ended when LeBron as captain chose Kyrie for his squad in the Feb. 18 game. Would Westbrook do the same for KD? You probably know the answer to that.
Anyway, it will be a reunion of 2016 champions when LeBron, Irving and Kevin Love share the same uniform again. Here’s Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com speaking with Irving:
“I think you’ve heard it if you’ve talked to championship winners before, but when you’re on a championship team, it’s just a bond that can’t be broken forever,” Irving said. “Just going through that, the way we created history — we’re the only team in history to come back from 3-1. And that’s something that will be etched in NBA history for life.
“And that’s always a connection, something that we can always reminisce about no matter what. It’s an incredible bond that we built as a team, individually being tested at the highest level, and doing something that you can remember for the rest of your life and tell your kids about.”
Some wondered if James might pass on Irving given how the point guard asked to be dealt from the Cavaliers. With Irving’s help, the Celtics sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 6.5-game lead over Cleveland entering Friday.
“It will be fun [to play with James and Love],” Irving said. “All-Star weekend’s just an enjoyable experience. It’s a time for us as competitors to get together when we’re not necessarily with our teams and going against one another. It’s great to see the two captains choose who they felt were the best fit for their team, and I’m glad that I’m playing with a bunch of great players.”
And that’s the key, really, and the difference between LeBron-Irving and KD-Westbrook: At least the former Cavs teammates won something together.
Westbrook’s beef with KD appears to be over such matters; remember, the Thunder had a 3-1 lead on the Warriors before KD signed with the Warriors. Westbrook thought, and maybe rightly so, that OKC was close and could’ve beaten the Warriors the next season. Remember, that summer they traded Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, who curiously will also play in the All-Star Game.
The All-Star Weekend is the right time to put issues aside for the greater good of the game and to keep the climate tension-free and also for your own mental health. Maybe KD and especially Russ will get the message this time.