After Kevin Durant announced that he will be joining the Golden State Warriors, rumors about his former teammate Russell Westbrook leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder started flying. Many of these rumors indicated that Westbrook was not happy with Durant's decision.
These then led to speculations about Westbrook leaving OKC. However, according to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman, Westbrook was indeed disappointed that Durant decided to leave the Thunder to join the Warriors.
But, unlike what was suggested by the rumors, Westbrook is channeling his negative emotion to do well next season with the Thunder. With Durant gone, Westbrook knows that the fate of the team now rests on his shoulders.
"One source described [Westbrook] as ticked off about the Kevin Durant departure, determined for this new challenge and eager for the season to start: 'He's ready,'" Slater wrote.
So, if Westbrook is determined to stay in OKC, that means the team will no longer have to trade him. These trade rumors started after the athlete reportedly expressed his interest to leave the team in free agency.
As for Durant, he recently opened up about his decision to join the Warriors. Although he had already stated that he made his choice based on what he thinks will be good for his career, other sources suggested that he decided to leave because of Westbrook.
Durant debunked these rumors and said that his former teammate's presence in the team was never a factor in him leaving.
"Nah, it wasn't a factor," he said according to USA Today. "I mean obviously (that alleged subplot) is coming out now (that) I'm gone, all these reports are going to come out. I can't really control it, but I just made a decision based on where I wanted to go, man."
"It was as simple as that," he added. "We can think about all the reasons and the factors and what factored in, but it was simple. That's where I wanted to play basketball."
Aside from his relationship with Westbrook, his decision to join the Warriors also made the Golden State team the target of criticisms and rumors. Now that he will be playing with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, various sources have dubbed the Warriors as the team to beat next season.