After Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Warriors in July, initial reports indicated that Russell Westbrook was "angry" with the way KD went about leaving the Thunder. According to those reports, KD didn’t personally tell Westbrook about his decision, which apparently left Westbrook with a bad taste in his mouth. And it seems Westbrook is still not happy with how everything went down this summer. Just last week at Thunder media day, he told reporters that he hasn’t spoken with KD since he decided to leave Oklahoma City.
That doesn’t sit real well with Kendrick Perkins. Perkins played with Durant and Westbrook in OKC from 2011 through 2015, so during his appearance on the latest episode of Adrian Wojnarowski’s "The Vertical Podcast with Woj," he shed a lot of light on the KD/Westbrook situation and said he’s sorry to hear that they’re no longer speaking. He also revealed that he thinks both players are going to "regret" the way that their time together ended. You can listen to the entire podcast here, but we’ve also picked some of Perkins’ best quotes and included them below. They should help you make some sense of the drama that’s been taking place with KD and Westbrook.
Perkins on KD and Westbrook not valuing one another:
They was young [when I first joined the Thunder]. Both of them was young at the time, and as the years went on, they both got better with each other from the time when I first got there. At the time, I think, to me, what happened was with Russ and KD, I think they never really valued one another like they should have. Not saying they didn’t value as, like, they didn’t like each other. What I’m talking about is, I don’t think they ever realized and said, 'Hey…' I don’t think Russ ever realized and said, 'Hey, I got Kevin Durant on my side. We can take over this league.' And I never thought KD did, vice versa. He never said, 'Hey, I got Russell Westbrook on my side.' You got two of the top five players in the NBA on the same team, and I just think that they never valued each other. And trust me, I’m telling you this right now, when they think about this 10 years later, they’re going to regret this. They’re going to regret that they didn’t value each other the way that they should have, and I’m talking about both of them.
Perkins on the alleged "beef" between KD and Westbrook:
It was always the outside [creating the beef]. It was always the controversy of who team it was. Why it can’t just be both of y’all team? How about Russ go for 50 one night and you go for 60 the next night? How about it just be both of y’all team? And the thing was, at the time, KD was already probably a two-time All-Star, the No. 1 draft pick, while Russ, when I first got there, was still putting his name out there. And then, all of a sudden, Russ caught up to KD and they was both on the same level as far as just being up there as the elite icons of the league. I just think that they will have some type of regrets in the next 10 years or when they’re done about that they could have handled it better when they was together.
Perkins on his plans to get KD and Westbrook to talk again sometime soon:
With them not talking right now, that bothers me. Because I know both of them, they love each other and care for each other despite the decision that KD made. With me reading an article and seeing that they haven’t talked to each other, that bothers me. Because I know that their relationship off the court and on the court had grew way past that. So for them not to be talking right now, that bothers me personally. And I haven’t did it yet, but I’m thinking in a few that I’m going to put both of them in a group [text] message.
Perkins on how KD should have handled his free agency decision:
My whole thing is that—and this was the thing—okay, it’s cool that KD, you a man, you decide the decision you want to make. But at the end of the day, it’s how you go about it. You don’t send Russ a text and say, 'Hey, I’m going to the Warriors.' No, you do like LeBron James did when he left Miami. He went down and he sat and had dinner with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to tell them that he was leaving, that he was going to sign with Cleveland. That’s what you do. It carries a long way. It don’t take you nothing to call Nick Collison and Russell Westbrook and go and sit down and have a conversation with them and say, 'Hey guys, look, it’s been fun. I still love y’all like my brothers, but I’m going to Golden State.'…It would have been hard for him to look Nick and Russ in the eyes, because if they would have sat down at a lunch table, it would have been the same thing that happened with DeAndre Jordan. It’s easier to text and be done with it than actually sit down face to face and actually look your friend and your brother in the eyes that you done went to war with for six years. It’s a lot harder and it make your decision a lot harder.
Perkins on why KD and Westbrook shouldn’t have any ongoing issues:
My biggest thing out of all this is that the decision been made, but I felt like they have grown—and I’m talking about from the time when I was there when they were 21 and 22 years old—they have grown on and off the court so much that I don’t want them to have to end their friendship and relationship. There’s no reason that they should not be talking. They went a whole summer and haven’t heard a word or said a word to each other. I don’t like that. Not from me being around both of those guys and me looking at both of those guys like my little bothers. That don’t sit well with me that they are actually not talking. It’s not a beef they’re supposed to have.
It’ll be interesting to see if Perkins follows through with his idea to get KD and Westbrook on the phone together at some point. If he does, he might be able to defuse things and get the two back on speaking terms. But if he doesn’t, something tells us this KD/Westbrook drama is going to continue for months and maybe even years to come.