In 2010, James formed a super team on the Miami Heat with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade after seven seasons of trying to make it work with the team that drafted him—the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2016, Durant joined the Warriors’ super team after nine seasons where he tried bringing a championship to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both players may have made these career-altering moves to prove the doubters wrong who questioned whether they were capable of winning a title. Both players were heavily criticized for taking the easy road to a championship.
After four years in Miami, James returned to his hometown team, the Cavaliers, to try and bring that franchise their first NBA championship. When LeBron finally accomplished that goal in 2016, the narrative on his career changed. He was the beloved player who could do no wrong. He was the person who could leave Cleveland again, and receive no scrutiny this time around because he brought a title to the city. As much as Durant has embraced the role of the bad guy of the NBA, there has to be a part of him that hates being so hated.
After winning back-to-back titles and Finals MVP trophies, Durant may be getting to the point where he starts thinking about his next chapter, his next challenge. If KD follows the LeBron model, it means that he’s going to want to prove that he can lead a team on his own.
ESPN’s Marc J. Spears spoke with Durant about James’s move to the Lakers. His remarks were supportive toward The King, but they may have also given us a glimpse into his mentality as it pertains to his own career. Check out the above video at the 3:20 mark to hear his response.
"I think this is the perfect next step for him. He’s kind of breaking down the barriers of what an NBA superstar is supposed to be," Durant said at around the 4:25 mark. "You feel like you’re supposed to play it out in one spot, and I think he did a good job of giving you different chapters and it’s going to make his book even more interesting when it’s done." The fact that KD mentions how LeBron gave us "different chapters" and went against the belief that "you’re supposed to play it out in one spot" are some interesting quotes. If Durant is truly contemplating a different chapter in his career next summer, that push for change could come if the Warriors win a third straight title this upcoming season.
Before we can even speculate where he would go next, Durant would first need to opt-out of his contract next summer.