Kevin Durant and the four other biggest villains in NBA history

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Kevin Durant was warmly received at the Oracle Arena for Team USA's warm-up game with China last night, only two days after being showered in boos at the Staples Center against the same opponent.

The newest member of the Golden State Warriors is clearly going to be resented by some of the league for leaving a Western Conference contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder and heading to a direct rival who not only knocked them out of the postseason last term, but won 73 games in the regular season, too.

Durant turned down the chance to sign with the L.A. Clippers after hearing their pitch, but he didn't even meet with the L.A. Lakers. Chances are, those are the reasons he endured such a hostile reception at the Staples Center, and after rejecting the advances of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat as well, he can probably expect more of the same treatment down the line.

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As KD settles into his new role as league villain, we take a look at four other men who have incurred the wrath of the NBA faithful as a result of their desires to seek pastures new.

Kevin Garnett

KG was Mr. Minnesota. He spent the first 12 years of his career with the Timberwolves and despite losing in the first round of the playoffs seven seasons in a row beginning in his sophomore year, they did finish top of the Western Conference in 2003-04.

Garnett won the MVP award that year, but they fell to the L.A. Lakers 4-2 in the Conference Finals. In the three years that followed, the postseason alluded Garnett and his precious Timberwolves and the forward decided it was time for a change.

The 7-for-1 deal that took Garnett to the Boston Celtics constitutes the largest number of players traded for a single player in league history. In his first season with Boston, Garnett would secure the NBA title that he craved so dearly, but all that did was further enrage the people of Minnesota who had hoped he would lead them to that very same glory.

Garnett, now 40, is winding down his career as a veteran piece in a young Timberwolves unit, which surely goes to prove that time heals all wounds.

DeAndre Jordan

This is a rather unique tale as not only did Jordan never end up making the move that derived so much anger, but he actually drew the ire of two sets of franchisees in the same phantom transaction.

Last summer, the All-Star center verbally agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks after growing tired of playing third fiddle to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul with the Clippers.

The center wanted a starring role, something Mark Cuban and the Mavericks were more than happy to oblige. However, just days after the announcement, with L.A. up in arms about the betrayal of Jordan, he had a change of heart.

CP3 - one of the players whose moaning he was supposedly tired of - made one last plea to Jordan and convinced the 28-year-old to stay. The dramatic U-turn infuriated the Dallas fanbase who mercilessly booed him out of the AT&T Center when he returned as a Clipper. Still, Jordan claimed All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team honours last season, so he may well feel his decision was justified.

Shaquille O'Neal

Diesel has always been, and probably always will be, one of the most controversial men in the game. After arriving as the number one overall draft pick back in 1992, Shaq turned the fortunes of the Orlando Magic and suddenly they became a contender.

Orlando made it to the NBA Finals and Conference Finals during Shaq's four-year stretch in Florida, but came up on short on both occasions. The dominant center wanted championship rings, but he also wanted to feel valued by the place he called home. He didn't believe Orlando offered either and was insulted by their opening offers.

The Lakers, on the other hand, moved heaven and earth to clear the room to bring Shaq to the west coast and gave him $120 million worth of reasons for him to jump ship. It just so happens that a draft night trade for a young Kobe Bryant also occurred that summer.

As they say, the rest is history. But, it left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Magic who never truly recovered until Dwight Howard burst on the scene some eight years later.

LeBron James

By far and away the most controversial move in recent memory, if not all-time. LeBron was Cleaveland's son, the franchise's first genuine hope of a championship and the hometown hero that could bring their fairytale hopes to life.

Similar to Shaq, LeBron's entrance to the organisation made them contenders overnight and like Shaq, King James had reached both the Conference Finals and NBA Finals and lost.

After seven years, James decided winning a championship was the be-all and end-all and after a prolonged summer, the small forward announced 'The Decision' via a live special on ESPN that he would be heading to the Miami Heat.

Phrases like "taking my talents to South Beach" only served to vilify him more than his decision already did. He was widely criticised around the league and Cavaliers fans burned his jersey; he became one of the most disliked sportsmen in all of America overnight.

However, in his four years in Miami, he won two NBA titles off of four straight trips to the Finals. After that successful, title-quenching sabbatical, James decided to return to Cleveland where he has since more than made amends.

LeBron drove the city to the NBA Finals in his first season back and after coming up short to a sensational Golden State Warriors side, he returned the following year and put on a superhuman show to secure Cleveland its first ever NBA Championship.

He led all players in scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks in the series to claim a well-deserved Finals MVP award. If time certainly heals all wounds, so does championships.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference

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