Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is reportedly suing accountant Joel Elliott after some questionable practices that got the NBA MVP candidate in trouble with the IRS.
TMZ reports the accountant wrote off business expenses that weren't related to Durant's career, which wasn't sitting well with the tax collectors. One example is a personal chef and the lawsuit claims the mistakes were entirely Elliott's fault:
In his lawsuit, Durant says, "Fees paid to a personal chef would not be regarded by a reasonably prudent accountant as qualifying for a business expense deduction."
Durant says the personal chef deduction was just one of MANY irresponsible accounting moves by Elliott that landed KD in hot water with the IRS.
Durant also states he was forced to hire another firm to fix all of his tax returns in order to get back in the good graces of the IRS. All told, he's had to pay more than $200,000 in order to fix the mistakes and now wants Elliott to rectify the situation.
News of the lawsuit comes as Durant finishes up the All-Star break. The forward put up 38 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a losing effort for the Western Conference squad. He returns to action with the Thunder on Thursday against the Miami Heat.
It's a perfect way to start the second half because much of the focus leading up to All-Star Weekend was on Durant and LeBron James, who's been the unquestioned top player in the league for the past few years. Durant is trying to change that view.
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News passed along comments from James, who doesn't believe there's a direct comparison beyond things like the MVP debate since they are different types of players:
I don't think I'm compared to him. They don't compare me to Kevin Durant. They just talk about the two best players in the game and which one is better. Which one can score better. Who's the MVP. And who's going to win the next championship. But they don't ever compare our games too much. We're different players.
For what it's worth, Durant says he's trying not to get caught up in all the talk about who's No. 1, as noted in remarks provided by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
No. Because just like it didn't matter when they said I was the No. 2 player in the NBA, it doesn't matter now. That doesn't float my boat. I just go out there and play the game and have fun. It's cool for people to say I'm the best player or an MVP candidate or whatever. But you got to ignore good and bad noise, and I think that’s the reason that I've been at peace with myself. Just realizing what I'm playing the game for and it's much more than what people rank you as a player.
It's sure to remain a talking point heading into Thursday's clash and beyond whether Durant and James want to acknowledge it or not.
As for the lawsuit, it shouldn't be much of an issue or distraction moving forward. Clearly Durant is trying to avoid an even bigger problem with the IRS in the future by going back and fixing all of the outstanding issues now.
The situation should be handled behind closed doors and it wouldn't be a surprise if the initial word of the lawsuit is the last anybody hears about it beyond a potential settlement. It's not something that should have a lingering impact on Durant as the Thunder chase a title.