OKC Thunder: Durant chose a ring over loyalty; Giannis captured both

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Kevin Durant. All Star Game Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Giannis Antetokounmpo & Kevin Durant. All Star Game Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
Former OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant. Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder: A legacy that will live in infamy

There have been many questions circulating this week on the legacy of both Giannis and Durant. Kendrick Perkins recently sent out a tweet this week (which later was a topic on First Take) posing the question, “If both players retired today, who will have had the greater legacy?”

There are two ways I view this question. If I am looking at the standpoint of a fan, I will immediately side with Giannis. However, looking from a pure basketball vantage point, the answer has to be Kevin Durant.

Unfortunately for Durant, the word legacy implies the totality of one’s career, which means Durant’s off-the-court decisions will always be a part of his legacy.

Twenty years from now, we could be looking back and saying, “man, that Kevin Durant was a great player, but remember when he left OKC to join the team he lost to the previous year?”

Conversely, many of us will look back on this championship with the Milwaukee Bucks and say, “wow, that is so cool that Giannis stuck it out and his hard work and loyalty paid off!”

From the rationale, I may prefer Giannis, and his story is still unfolding. At the young age of 26, it looks as though he is just getting started, and the possibility of future championships is undoubtedly realistic.

Winning this most recent championship will have a significant impact on the Bucks franchise moving forward. Whether it is free-agent signings or roster stability, it is now a known fact that the Bucks are both a contender and a title contender for years to come.

Had Durant stayed with the OKC Thunder, who knows what this franchise looks like today? Paul George certainly does not come to the franchise, which ultimately impacts the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade, and who knows what that means for Russell Westbrook? Maybe he never leaves OKC!

Subsequently, OKC would have enticed more free-agent signings, which would have also benefitted the franchise.

The only nagging concern that ultimately feels probable to me is that KD was just simply tired of playing with Westbrook, and it was time for one of them to go. I believe the last scenario is the most likely, but it does not mean I still refrain from asking myself, “what if?”

Basketball players do not collect checks for loyalty. In sentiment, this may be the case, but not monetarily. The compensation comes from winning rings.