Kevin Durant annoyed by criticism Russell Westbrook has received, takes aim at ‘toxic’ dialogue currently surrounding NBA

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant is expressing his disgust with the relentless criticism being directed at his former teammate Russell Westbrook.

Durant offered his thoughts on “The ETCs with Kevin Durant” podcast and said that while criticism is normal, the expectations that help fuel it can reach impossible levels.

Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers last season and seen as a key piece that would help them make a deep playoff run. That failed to materialize, with the Lakers failing to even reach the postseason.

One of the issues last season was the inability of Westbrook to fit into the Lakers’ lineup. Yet, key injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James played much greater roles in the team’s disappointing finish last season.

Durant played with Westbrook for eight seasons on the Oklahoma City Thunder. During that span, the Thunder evolved from a rebuilding team into one that reached the 2012 NBA Finals.

After the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Western Conference finals, Durant left in free agency to sign with the Golden State Warriors. His move to Golden State caused a bit of a riff between him and Westbrook.

Durant then played a key role in helping the Warriors win consecutive championships in 2017 and 2018. Since leaving to sign with the Nets in 2019, he’s been on the receiving end of his own share of criticism.

Westbrook’s current situation with the Lakers remains a tenuous one. The Lakers have thus far failed in their efforts to deal the veteran guard, an effort that began while the team was imploding last season.

For now, Westbrook has indicated that he plans on simply focusing on playing basketball and ignoring talk about his future. He’s in the final year of a massive deal that’s paying him more than $47 million this season.

Given the beating his image has taken, it seems likely that Westbrook won’t get anywhere near that amount after this season.

He turns 34 next month, and his recent struggles will certainly hover over any potential contract talks with the Lakers or other teams.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.