And the level of drama that accompanied his time with the Golden State Warriors—including a well-publicized argument with Draymond Green during the season that included Green reportedly telling Durant the Warriors had won a championship without him and didn't need him—played a part in his decision to switch uniforms, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
"When asked about all of the negative things that transpired with Durant and the Warriors over the past year, a source close to Durant said: 'All that showed a lack of respect for one of the greatest players to put that uniform on and the fact that he took all that abuse and still put his career on the line to help them win.'"
For all of the team's dominance with Durant, winning two titles and reaching a third NBA Finals, there's no doubt his time in Golden State was rocky. He became public enemy No. 1 after he signed with the Warriors, with fans around the NBA flaming him for joining them and leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And when Durant defended himself online using burner accounts and was found out, the noise only grew.
But he was also seemingly never embraced in the Bay Area in the same way Warriors fans loved Stephen Curry. There was always the perception, fair or not, that the Dubs were Curry's team.
"It was time for him to leave Golden State," his former teammate with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kendrick Perkins, told Spears. "They were taking him for granted."
Then there were the whispers that Durant wasn't happy about how the team handled his injury this postseason. Or general manager Bob Myers' joke at the 2018 NBA championship parade ceremony when asked about Durant's free agency, as Spears recounted:
"'Last year, you told Steph he could have whatever contract he wants, too,' Warriors play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald said to Myers.
"'That was different,' Myers replied. '[Curry's] been here since the way before days. … He earned it.'
"Durant let out an awkward laugh."
But what may have been the tipping point for Durant was that November confrontation with Green. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports shared the details:
"Green called Durant a 'b---h' multiple times, sources said. In a summarized version, sources said Green shouted, 'You're a b---h and you know you're a b---h.' The rhetoric, sources said, continued even when Steve Kerr attempted to direct the team’s attention to his whiteboard.
"But what ultimately led to Green's suspension, sources said, was a remark in which he dared Durant to bolt in free agency next summer. Durant has a player option for the 2019-20 season, and the Warriors want their superteam intact for the opening of their new arena, the Chase Center, in San Francisco next season.
"Green blurted to Durant something along the lines of, 'We don't need you. We won without you. Leave,' sources said."
His reported words will now be put to the test, as the Warriors attempt to win a title around Curry, Green, Klay Thompson (once he returns from a torn ACL) and, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, D'Angelo Russell. The Durant era is over. It was undoubtedly a successful run, but there's no question that it was a drama-filled one as well.