Russell Westbrook won’t say if Thunder fans should boo Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant makes his first return to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Saturday since he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors during the offseason. But Russell Westbrook refused to say how Thunder fans should treat the onetime favorite son once he steps onto the court in another team’s uniform.
Westbrook not only said it’s not up to him on Thunder fans treat Durant, he actually paid his former teammate quite the compliment.
“It’s kind of up to them,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Royce Young after Thursday’s 118-109 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It’s up to them what they want to do. Obviously, Kevin has done a lot for Oklahoma City and our team while he was here, so it’s kind of up to them. It doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other. It’s a basketball game and we have to go out and compete.”
Given the relatively passive-aggressive banter between Westbrook and Durant, the Thunder point guard’s comments are nothing short of surprising.
It goes without saying Thunder fans have a lot of pent-up emotion and feelings of betrayal over what they perceive as Durant’s desertion. Even Durant understands why he’ll face a hostile crowd on Saturday night.
Westbrook was presented with the perfect opportunity to help rile up Thunder fans ahead of Durant’s highly anticipated return. It turns out he opted to take the high road instead.
Is this a sign that Westbrook may be ready to bury the hatchet? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean the triple-double machine doesn’t want to lay a beat down on his former teammate’s squad come Saturday.