DALLAS – Conventional wisdom suggests that no way Kevin Durant seriously considers the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent destination after he called owner Mark Cuban "an idiot’’ less than two months ago.
But the NBA is business. Big-time business.
Just ask LeBron James and Dan Gilbert.
More on that later.
Durant went ballistic in the postgame press conference after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s series-closing 118-104 Game 5 victory over the Mavs back on Apr. 25. His venom was directed solely at Cuban.
You remember that immortal day, don’t you?
Before the game, Cuban said the Thunder only had one superstar (Durant), and that OKC point guard Russell Westbrook was an accomplished All-Star, but was not a superstar. After the game, Westbrook was asked about Cuban’s rather surprising comments.
But before Westbrook could answer the question, a very animated Durant intervened and said of Cuban: "He’s an idiot. Don’t listen to him. He’s an idiot. That’s what we’ve got to say about that. He's an idiot. Next question.’’
Those scathing remarks by Durant came out of left field and was totally out of character for a man of his stature. Almost immediately, thoughts fast-forwarded to over two months ahead to July 1, when Durant becomes this summer’s most coveted unrestricted free agent.
The suggestion was that because of Durant’s tirade against Cuban, there went the Mavs’ chances of signing the 6-9 superstar forward during free agency. There went the Mavs’ chances of returning the Texas-ex to Texas soil and helping Dirk Nowitzki make one last gigantic run towards winning another NBA title.
Some folks, though, have short memories.
Remember that dramatic made-for-TV decision back in 2010, when LeBron James got on national television and announced that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and taking his talents to South Beach, aka the Miami Heat?
Upset Cavs fans burned James’ jersey and called him every nasty word under the sun. Even Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavs, got online and wrote some extremely unflattering remarks about James.
Four years and two Heat championships later, James and Gilbert -- OK they didn’t exactly kiss and make up – managed to find some common ground, and Cleveland’s prodigal son eventually signed a free agent contract with the Cavs in 2014. Now, the James-led Cavs just won the franchise’s first world title and the first world championship of any kind for the city of Cleveland since 1964.
In other words, James’ return to Cleveland was all about business. Both he and Gilbert know that.
Swallow the ego and the pride and go get the job done.
Sure, James is from nearby Akron, and that played a role in him wanting to go back to Cleveland and tidy up a few things. But with so much loot on the line, common sense always prevails.
Some of this applies to Durant.
If Durant considers the Mavs as having a serious chance at winning a championship in the near future with his help, that venom he directed at Cuban shouldn’t even matter. After all, the NBA is business.
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com