In case you haven't been paying attention, the NBA offseason has been wild.
The Lakers landed LeBron James, then for some reason proceeded to sign every player in the league who has ever feuded with him. Paul George decided to stay in Oklahoma City because Russell Westbrook threw him a surprise party, while Kawhi Leonard got deported to Canada. Meanwhile, the reigning champion Golden State Warriors casually went out and added yet another All-Star to their already impossibly stacked roster, center DeMarcus Cousins.
And the Blazers…well, they are still here.
Last night, however, with the offseason approaching its dog days, the Blazers were at the center of the conversation among hardcore hoops-heads. As usual, though, it had nothing to do with anything the front office did.
It started a day earlier, on CJ McCollum's Pull Up podcast. His guest was Golden State forward and two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who, as you might recall, joined the Warriors in 2016 in a controversial move that'll likely be debated until he retires, and then for some time after that.
Speaking for pretty much every NBA fan outside the Bay Area, McCollum expressed his frustration with the Warriors landing Cousins for a measly $5 million. Here are the relevant parts of the back-and-forth, courtesy of CBS Sports:
Durant: "Why are you mad about this stuff?"
McCollum: "Bro, I'm in the league. What do you mean why am I mad about this stuff? I'm in the Western Conference. I gotta play you MFers all the time anyway as it is, over and over again. We got eliminated by y'all a few times in the first round. So I'm looking at [Cousins] —"
Durant: "I mean … you know you guys aren't going to win a championship?"
McCollum: "Bro, we have the team. We have the capabilities. Anything is possible. We can win a championship, bro. … We were right there at the top of things. We were the third seed last year, bro. We were right there. We were just slightly below one and two."
Durant: "But how'd you play?"
McCollum: "Some unfortunate situations happened in the first round."
Durant: "How'd you play?"
McCollum: "Some unfortunate circumstances."
Durant: "Like an eight seed."
On the podcast, the exchange comes across like fairly amiable ribbing. But then the next day, on Twitter, some bro from Barstool Sports just had to stir the pot.
"Hey @CJMcCollum permission to start using the B word again for KD?" he asked. To which McCollum responded:
I still think the b word is harsh and shouldn’t be used. . He know that decision was soft but I respect it. It’s like getting jumped with ur brothers by a gang you should’ve beat then joining the gang that jumped u and ur brothers 2 months later & forgetting about your bros https://t.co/BFGqQy1lwR
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 26, 2018
A convoluted analogy, to be sure. But if there's anything we know about Kevin Durant, it's that he's Very Much Online—sometimes undercover—and isn't one to let perceived social media slights just disappear into his timeline:
For NBA fans anticipating facing that interminable two and a half month stretch between the end of the free agency frenzy and the start of pre-season, this is the kind of stuff you want to hook directly into your veins. And the Twittersphere responded in kind:
I thought CJ’s hypothetical was hilarious in how off the wall it was but then KD hopped in trying to make sense of it and that’s even funnier. Dude said “gang fight”. GANG FIGHT
— Beyonce has an uncle named Larry Beyince. Bruh…. (@DragonflyJonez) July 26, 2018
man, Kevin Durant couldn’t even pull off being kinda cool for a whole news cycle
— Seerat Sohi (@DamianTrillard) July 26, 2018
Durant whined a little bit more, while McCollum tried to stop the beef in its tracks, while also clarifying that he is not, nor has he ever been, reptilian in nature:
There is no feud y’all gotta chill. It was simply an analogy. I’m done speaking on KD and the warriors bc it’s childish of me to do so and soft lol (will be taken out of context). I’ve always said what I feel but we all know I’ve never been a 🐍. Back to the grind pic.twitter.com/93B39bqKTS
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 26, 2018
How will this all play out on the court?
We'll just have to wait and—wait, I'm getting word that the Warriors have somehow already swept the Blazers out of next year's playoffs. Oh well, we all had fun for one night, right?