One thing that has defined this basketball era is how star players have almost unfettered control over their careers. The poster boy is LeBron James, jokingly called “LeGM” for seemingly administering most, if not all, roster tweaks on his teams. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant doesn’t believe James nor any other franchise star controls an organization’s general manager like a puppet.
For Durant, “LeGM” is one of those arcs that the media concocted perhaps to generate hype and to tease fans on what goes on behind the curtains. Of course, franchise stars have their input on roster decisions and the like. But at the end of the day, it’s the front office with the ultimate say. Durant, speaking from his own experience with the Golden State Warriors, knows this for a fact.
“I feel like that’s a narrative that [media created]. I don’t even think LeBron does that. He might have input or know some information. But him saying [pointing left], ‘This is who you should get.’ [Points right.] ‘That’s who you should get,’ I don’t think it works like that.”
Kevin Durant, Yahoo Sports.
“I’ve been around Steph, he doesn’t work like that. Let people do their jobs. It’s not on me to overstep what they do. I’m just here to support. If they need me to text or call somebody that may come, of course.”
Durant doesn’t want control
Durant admitted that he played a role in luring veteran point guard Goran Dragic to join the team. But the idea took root with their general manager Sean Marks. Durant does not have a wishlist of players or orders that the organization has to follow by any means.
“I’m not, ‘This is the list of guys,’” Durant said. “Sean [Marks, Nets general manager] will hit me, like, ‘Goran is interested, what you think?’ I [contacted] him. That’s always who I’ve been since I got here. I’ve never had control. I don’t want it,” Durant said.
It would be interesting to see if Durant keeps this mindset in the offseason. Given the Nets’ disappointing 2021-22 NBA season, the front office may need to make considerable tweaks to their roster and coaching staff. They will need input from their stars — the ones who have a deeper understanding of the sport than all of them combined.
Durant’s insistence on staying in his lane may come to haunt him. If the legend of LeGM is indeed fact and not fiction, then it speaks volumes of James’ fearlessness to dive into the politics of the sport. His will to win is so extreme that he’s keen to compete in two games: the one on the hardcourt with sweaty men, the other in closed offices with men and women donning suits.
This will all dovetail into Durant’s legacy. Does he really want to be one of the greatest? Or is he just your average superstar who just goes with the flow?