Suns' Kevin Durant and Lakers' LeBron James

Getty Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hug after the Lakers defeated the Suns.

Kevin Durant fired back at a fan who suggested he leave the Phoenix Suns and return to the Oklahoma City Thunder to redeem his NBA legacy.

“The only way KD can redeem his legacy is if he returns to the Thunder and wins them their first ever championship. LeBron style. Then all his sins will be forgiven. We good? @KDTrey5,” the fan posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Durant did not let the fan’s comment slide without clapping back.

“You ain’t God. Go get ready for work,” Durant replied.

In 2014, LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers after winning two championships with the Miami Heat. With Kyrie Irving in place and swapping Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, the Cavaliers were ready to contend in James’ return. They went to three straight NBA Finals and won the city’s first championship via historic 3-1 comeback against the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

After that season, Durant left the Thunder and joined the Warriors to win the next two titles at the expense of James and the Cavaliers. Despite the two championships and two Finals MVP, Durant became restless. He left the Warriors following an injury-riddled and drama-filled final season with the team in 2019 which culminated in the 2019 Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Durant joined his friend, Kyrie Irving, in Brooklyn.

The Nets went all-in and traded for James Harden. But their Big Three experiment was an epic failure. He demanded to be traded to the Suns last season.

The Suns, like the Nets, also went all-in, forming their own version of Big Three trading for Bradley Beal to join Durant and Devin Booker. Their first season did not end well as they got swept in the first round.

Suns Aim to Maximize Kevin Durant’s Talent

After Durant’s well-chronicled disconnect with the past Suns coaching staff last season, Phoenix general manager James Jones said they want to become the first team to maximize Durant’s talent.

“I tell you, that’s a constant focus for us to continue to figure out how to maximize Kevin Durant,” Jones said during his exit interview on May 1 at Footprint Center. “No one has done it yet. I believe we will be the first team to do it because if we can maximize him, we can maximize our entire roster. We’re a better team, but that’s not an issue. I think Kevin had a phenomenal season this year offensively.”

“I think he had some of the best stretches of his career this year,” Jones continued. “So it wasn’t an offensive thing. It wasn’t a utilization or usage thing. It was just the totality of figuring out when and where and how to do it together. We just could not get on the same page.”

Durant averaged 27.1 points on 52/41/86 shooting split across 75 games in his first full season with the Suns. It was the most games the 35-year-old superstar has played since returning from an Achilles injury in 2019.

Suns Beef up Mike Budenholzer’s Coaching Staff

The Suns beefed up their new coaching staff led by NBA champion coach Mike Budenholzer by adding former University of Washington coach Mike Hopkins, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

A two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Hopkins compiled a 122-110 (.526) record with the Huskies, including a 2019 conference title and NCAA tournament bid.

Hopkins joins a Suns coaching staff which also includes David Fizdale and  Chad Forcier, according to the report.

The Suns also tried to recruit former Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham to reunited with Budenholzer but was unsuccessful, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Ham, who was fired after two seasons with the Lakers, returned to the Milwaukee Bucks as Doc Rivers’ top assistant.

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