The Oklahoma City homecoming for Kevin Durant on Saturday night didn’t go well, to say the least.
The new Golden State Warriors star jawed at former Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook throughout the game, making it clear there’s still bad blood between them.
Unfortunately for Golden State coach Steve Kerr, the ongoing Westbrook-Durant feud puts him in a bit of a bad situation, as he’ll serve as the Western Conference squad’s coach in next weekend’s All-Star Game.
However, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who led the West in 2015, has been in that situation before and, according to ESPN, advised Kerr to focus on making Westbrook happy at the All-Star Game, even at the expense of Durant and the other Warriors on the roster:
“I made sure they loved me, the other ones,” the Los Angeles Clippers coach said. “I knew my guys liked me. That was not my concern.”
Limiting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant’s minutes next weekend might not be the worst idea in the world, either. It’s been a long first half of the season and they could use all the rest they can get.
In fact, Rivers added, Kerr should make sure Westbrook plays as many minutes as he wants to so he doesn’t have another reason to play like a maniac against the Warriors in the playoffs:
“Like, I would bench them,” Rivers said. “But I didn’t want some guy trying to score 50 on us when we played them, so I was really good at that and I went to each guy, ‘How much do you want to play? Do you want to play?'”
With a guy like Westbrook, the competitive fire is going to be there even in a glorified exhibition game like the All-Star contest, so Kerr has a delicate task on his hands.
Even though the Warriors are likely talented enough to survive a first- or second-round matchup with the Thunder even if Westbrook is playing with a massive chip on his shoulder, it’s best not to poke the beast if you can avoid it.