I just thought of this.

Hear me out.

Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard (once upon a time in his career) are basically in the same situation.

Leonard had a quad injury back when he was at San Antonio and after playing the first eight games of his comeback, sat down to seek a second opinion, played another game, and shut himself down for the rest of the season.

Durant, on the other hand, suffered an injury (initially diagnosed as a calf strain) that forced him to miss more or less a month of NBA Playoff action. Then on the brink of losing the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors were asked to re-join the Golden State Warriors to salvage their campaign. After a few minutes of playing time, Durant would aggravate his injury.  

The Achilles Tear injury has taken a lot of careers including Kobe Bryant, DeMarcus Cousins, Elgin Baylor, Patrick Ewing, Chauncey Billups, Rudy Gay, Elton Brand, and Isiah Thomas. Most of the names mentioned were on the brink of retirement when they suffered the injury but according to the SF Chronicle article, a Drexel University study uncovered that seven of the 18 NBA players that tore their Achilles between 1988 to 2011 never dared to return. I guess with the exception of Dominique Wilkins who had two All-NBA citations after suffering the injury.

But for The Human Highlight Reel, it was the beginning of the end of his career.

Returning to the Kevin Durant injury, I just had this thought.

Now I’m transferring my thoughts to Kawhi Leonard.

I said Kevin then I went to Kawhi.

Hear me out.

Kawhi Leonard came to San Antonio is a mid-first round surprise. At this point, the Gregg Popovich-led Spurs had the likes of 35-ish Tim Duncan, 34-ish Manu Ginobili, and a 29-year-old Tony Parker. The trio alongside Popovich conspired for three championships and with the rise of Kawhi, they finally found the player that would continue San Antonio’s winning ways.

In fact, Kawhi would become the Finals MVP of their fourth title together in 2014.

However, I bet the locker room talks aren’t as awesome as people would think. In fact, I bet the trio are forcing Kawhi to become the leader and pressuring the person to follow the San Antonio ways. I bet they thought they were helping but for some reason, they were stressing the guy out.

I could speculate that the talk could have been a shouting match and the sit-out could be his last straw.

There was a similar incident with LaMarcus Aldridge a couple of years prior but I guess he was able to connect with San Antonio’s locker room culture.

I bet Kawhi is trying too hard and pleasing very little.

How opportune that Kawhi would rock San Antonio after the retirement of Duncan.

With the alpha gone, we have the aging Argentine and the injury-prone Frenchman left. All of a sudden, Kawhi realized that he needs to carry these players for what could be their last championship drive. Now it’s okay with Kawhi initially with Aldridge but after suffering the broken quads and these veterans annoying him to the core, Leonard just had enough.

Especially the Tony Parker talk.

Especially the one that came from the dude who allegedly destroyed a teammate’s marriage and self-destructing his in the process.

I mean… why would you cheat on Eva Longoria?

So he wanted out and the Spurs want none of it. I guess San Antonio wanted to win one for their vets that the vets, in fact, ruined their title aspirations. Manu Ginobili would retire the season after and Tony Parker would change allegiances after 17 seasons to his subsequent retirement. Popovich, in fact, has entertained thoughts of retirement as well. And for Leonard who wanted to play in Los Angeles to be closer to his family and friends, they sent him packing to Toronto.

And look where he is now.

As of this writing, Toronto may or may not have won the NBA championship but for Canada, they already got what they have wanted for a long time. And if you look at his environment, Kawhi has a good relationship with Nick Nurse and he has a core of teammates that respects him as the leader and at the same time have dreams of upstaging him.

I guess the same incident happened to Durant in Golden State. However, the circumstances are different. Durant is looking for other teams thanks to his player option. If this is going to be his last year with the Warriors, then he needs to go out with a title. Also, Golden State will move to a new arena next season and what better intro to their next chapter than a championship presentation.

Also, the team isn’t strangers to this kind of pressure. The team strives to be the best and sometimes they just couldn’t see the big picture. A couple of years ago, Golden State became the first team to win 73 games in a season. This team forced their players to play in the times they should have been resting and they lost the championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

KD had to play because of the expectations, the press releases made by his bosses and to rid of the stigma that Durant didn’t play in the series because his mind is weak.

Durant is the reigning and defending Finals MVP and he won the award in consecutive fashion.

So what the hell?

Durant didn’t take a second opinion and succumbed to his competitive rage. Golden State wanted to milk Durant’s remaining days or in desperate yearnings for a three-peat.

Right now, both parties are in need of a miracle to get out from whatever bind they are in at the moment.

Now, despite the sure GSW money next season, Durant has expressed desire to use his player option as a last resort just in case the rest of the league is scared to sign him.

So I guess trust has been broken… just like what happened with Kawhi and the Spurs?



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