CLEVELAND (Ohio) • Kevin Durant could become a free agent in the summer, but there is little possibility of him playing alongside LeBron James.
The Golden State Warriors star forward told Bleacher Report that it will be hard for the Los Angeles Lakers to sign players because of the “toxic” environment that surrounds James.
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” he said. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, ‘We’re playing basketball here…’
“So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all – it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
Durant added that many players have to alter the way they play to be teammates of James.
He cited Chris Bosh during James’ stint with the Miami Heat and Kevin Love during James’ second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers as two prime examples.
“Kevin Love, he had to totally change his game to fit, to be a shooter,” he said. “Bosh, same way. LeBron needs to play with guys that already know how they play the game – and shooters.
“It’s always going to be hard (for young developing players) because he demands the ball so much, he demands control of the offence and he creates for everybody.”
THE CURRY EFFECT
WARRIORS WITH CURRY – 12 WINS IN 15
WITHOUT CURRY – 5 WINS IN 11
Durant had no problems playing with Stephen Curry, however, as the duo led the Warriors to a 129-105 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Curry scored 42 points, including nine three-pointers, and Durant added 25 points as Golden State (17-9) defeated a Cleveland team (5-19) bearing little resemblance to the James-led Cavs they battled in the last four championship series.
Curry, looking fully recovered in his third game back from a groin injury that sidelined him for 11 games, added nine rebounds and seven assists. Durant had 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists.
The Warriors were back in Cleveland for the first time since June, when they beat the Cavs to win their second straight NBA title and third in four years.
Forward J.R. Smith was absent from the team, Kevin Love was nursing a foot injury and Kyle Korver was recently traded to Utah.
Tristan Thompson, one of the only holdovers from the Cavaliers teams that challenged the Warriors – and beat them for the crown in 2016 – scored 14 points with 19 rebounds. Rookie Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 21 points.
“The energy before the game, after the game,” Durant said on ESPN, noting the changes at the Quicken Loans Arena.
“There were more media members here the last couple of years. We were talking about that before we ran out on the floor. That was a circus right here during the Finals.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr concurred that things have changed, saying: “It’s not a rivalry (anymore), it’s just another game.
“They’re trying to build something and we’re trying to continue our run for as long as we can.”
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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