Kendrick Perkins Says He Should've Handled Kevin Durant Feud Differently

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) and center Kendrick Perkins (5) react against the Miami Heat during the second half at Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 17, 2012, in Miami. Miami won 91-85. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Former NBA center Kendrick Perkins said he should have avoided a public feud in January with Kevin Durant, his teammate across five years with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Perkins discussed the situation during an appearance on the Runnin' Plays Podcast (via Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area) released Tuesday.

"If I could have handled it any other way, I would have," Perkins said. "I would have took a different approach. I wouldn't have fired back at him."

He added: "I wouldn't have responded. I probably should have just took the blow that he delivered and just sent him a text and was like, 'Bro, I wasn't coming at you like that,' and just let it be gone. Instead of for me, saying, 'You know what? I'm about to attack you and hit you where it hurt.' And I did shoot some below-the-belt slugs that I wish I wouldn't have done."

Perkins also tried to explain he was highlighting the difference between "greatest" and "best" when he called Russell Westbrook the greatest player in Thunder history, one of the comments that sparked the KD feud:

"It's just like if you talk about the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry is the greatest Golden State Warrior of all time. You talk about the Toronto Raptors. Kyle Lowry is the greatest Raptor of all time. Does that mean that they're the best player that ever came through?

"No. We all know that KD is the best player, in my opinion, to wear a Warriors jersey. We all know that KD was the best Thunder to wear a Thunder jersey."

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Perkins added that Durant has also changed since their days alongside each other with OKC, according to Murdock.

"KD is who he is, man. He's grown into the man that he wants to be, and I just have to accept it," he said. "It's just a different KD from what I knew when we was in Oklahoma City and he used to be under my wing all the time. So at the end of the day, I just got to accept who the man and roll with. That's who he is, and I got to love him for who he is."

Durant addressed his issue with Perkins' original comments on Showtime's All The Smoke in February:

"Russell going back to Oklahoma City was a great thing, but you knew that you saying, 'I'm gonna announce why Russell is the greatest Thunder player ever,' you knew that was a divisive statement. You knew that people would kinda be like, 'Oh, that's a shot at KD.' You know that, so my whole thing is you don't have to do that. In order for you to praise Russell, you don't gotta s--t on me. Because that's what the fans and that's what the media in Oklahoma City kind of made their money off of the last four years is s--tting on me. Perk, you're just playing into that because you want a job and you want some notoriety in your profession, but we were friends before this. ... So why are you trying to use that tactic against one of your so-called brothers?"

Durant is building a resume that could eventually make him one of the most decorated players in NBA history with two championships, an MVP Award, six First Team All-NBA selections and 10 All-Star Game appearances.