Kevin Durant may be in the last season of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but if he leaves as a free agent this offseason, he emphasized that it will not be because of his relationship with Russell Westbrook.
Durant elaborated on his friendship with Westbrook in an interview published Friday by The Oklahoman, comparing their relationship to “being brothers” and saying, “we’re like family.”
Although he acknowledged that there are “times we cuss each other out,” Durant described Westbrook as someone he trusts and “can lean on.”
“There’s times where we go at it,” Durant told The Oklahoman. “There’s times I don’t like what he’s doing out on the court. There’s times where he hates what I’m doing out on the court. There’s times where it’s ‘Russ, you gotta control your attitude,’ or ‘KD, you gotta stop, you gotta speak up,’ whatever.
“There’s times we cuss each other out, but that’s a part of being brothers. Because I know if I need something, he’ll be there and if I need to talk to someone outside of basketball, he’ll be there. It’s a real brotherhood type relationship. We’re like family.”
Westbrook has averaged more shot attempts per game than Durant, a four-time league scoring champion, over the past three-plus seasons.
But Durant reiterated that their respective shot selection has not affected his friendship with Westbrook, saying anyone who speculates about a rift between the teammates is being “disrespectful.”
“How can you tell? That’s my whole question,” Durant said. “What are you basing that off of? Because he shoots more than I do one game? That don’t make no sense. We don’t like each other because he shot more? That don’t make no sense.
“And it’s really disrespectful to me or to us because you think I’m that selfish of a person. I don’t like this guy because he shoots more than me? That’s disrespectful to me. Because if I’m a friend, I’m genuine. I’m there, no matter what. Good days, bad days, more shots. I’m a real friend.”
Durant, 27, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and figures to receive lucrative contract offers from multiple teams. The six-time All-Star is averaging 28.1 points and 17.7 field goal attempts per game — one fewer than Westbrook — this season but has missed Oklahoma City’s last five games because of a hamstring injury.