The Golden State Warriors were apparently not pleased with how the Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed Kevin Durant during his first game back at Chesapeake Energy Arena last month. From not mentioning him to their in-game operations staff to the PA announcer not promoting a possible ovation for him, such actions have made the Warriors organization “furious.”
With the Warriors visiting Oklahoma City for the second time this season, they are hoping that they will do a better job this time around and even acknowledge what the former MVP brought to their franchise, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
“Sources say the Warriors were of the mindset that someone from ownership or management should have addressed the media on Durant’s behalf to help ease the tension upon his return. The feeling is that Durant should have been acknowledged or thanked, in a news conference setting, for his nine years of excellent service.”
“The Warriors’ belief, according to sources, is that the Thunder’s silence contributed to the raw emotions, outrage and indignation that created an unsettling, hostile atmosphere for a player many consider to be the franchise’s all-time best.”
However, Thunder GM Sam Presti‘s statement indirectly confirmed that they did not plan on anything to give Durant a warm welcome to the city he called home for nine years. Instead, he discussed how proud he is with their players, residents, and members of the organization on how they handled Durant’s decision to leave for Oakland.
“When Kevin made the decision to leave and move on from Oklahoma and the Thunder, we responded in a manner that is consistent with how the Thunder tries to conduct itself, and I am incredibly proud of the people across our entire organization and the professionalism they have demonstrated,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti told ESPN’s Royce Young leading up to the Warriors’ first game in Oklahoma City earlier this season. “They have embraced Kevin’s past with the Thunder while sensibly and passionately investing in those that stand with us as we continue our work in Oklahoma with an inspired and positive outlook.
“We are fortunate to have people like Russell [Westbrook], Nick [Collison], Steven [Adams] and Billy [Donovan] in place, individuals who care deeply about the Thunder and what it stands for in our community and who are proud of their contributions to date, yet driven and honored to write our next chapter together.”
Although the former four-time scoring champion will not see action on the court Monday due to injury, it can be expected that he will receive the same treatment from the OKC faithful akin to his first game back there.
Some people may think that their fans are still salty about his decision to leave, but it just goes to show how proud they are with their current squad battling for a playoff position and are looking to upset one of the favorites by mid-April despite him leaving.