The Oklahoma City Thunder are considered dangerous competitors against contenders Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. Given the situation of the Stephen Curry team at the moment, there remains a huge possibility that the Western Conference crown could be taken home by either Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Although both teams are capable of winning the top spot, one thing appears to separate the San Antonio Spurs from the Oklahoma City Thunder: team drama.
The no-fuss locker room of the San Antonio Spurs has been a legendary feat in the NBA especially in light of off-court issues plaguing teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets. Even the Golden State Warriors have their fair share of drama with Stephen Curry reportedly earning considerably less than Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder seems to have the most dangerous drama of all - the rivalry between its two leaders.
It has never been a secret that both Durant and Westbrook are recognized as the leaders of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the relationship of the two stars has been scrutinized and dubbed as strained due to the competitive nature of both stars. Hence, the recent comments of Mark Cuban might just have added fuel to the fire.
"I think he's an All-Star but not a superstar," said Cuban of Westbrook after saying that the Oklahoma City Thunder only has one superstar and that is Kevin Durant. The Dallas Mavericks owner went on to explain that Westbrook does not measure up to the qualifications of a superstar. That is, the Oklahoma City Thunder will always turn to Durant in times of urgent need and not to Westbrook.
Cuban said, "The way I define a superstar is, who do you want the ball in the hands of at the end of a game when you need a bucket? Who do you know that can get off that shot and make that shot? And that's your superstar. Or make that play."
Will these comments drive apart the two leaders of the franchise? With the upcoming match against the San Antonio Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder will need every member of the team to cooperate and contribute to their cause. However, some feel that Durant is using this NBA season as a sort of audition for his pending free agency.
As the biggest star to hit the NBA free agency, Durant is expected to be courted by virtually all the teams in the league. In fact, rumors are rife that even the San Antonio Spurs are expected to make a bid for Durant. Apart from the Kawhi Leonard team, the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, New Yorks Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are anticipated to make a move to sign the 2014 NBA MVP as well.
With the attention he is getting both from his recent plays and pending free agency, Durant has become the central player of the Oklahoma City Thunder. How does this make Westbrook feel? Is he jealous? Will the rumored rift between the two finally be revealed?
The answer might be in the negative. When asked about the comments of Cuban on Westbrook, Durant was quick to defend his teammate. He responded, "He's [Cuban] an idiot. He's an idiot. All right. That's what we've got to say about that. He's an idiot. Next question."