NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum had previously criticized Kevin Durant for signing with the Golden State Warriors after their historic 73-win season in 2016, declaring it a soft move. Now, McCollum is calling out all ring chasers for joining the powerhouse Warriors.
Speaking on China Central Television (CCTV), McCollum said it is “disgusting” to see players hop onto Golden State’s loaded roster just to win a title. “I would never do anything of that nature,” he said.
“I’m not built like those guys,” McCollum said, clearly making a reference to Durant and DeMarcus Cousins—the latest star to join the Warriors in free agency.
McCollum says he “was raised differently” and wouldn’t jump ship to win a ring.
Most guys have too much pride. [They] want to win on their own with their certain franchises and aren’t going to just jump the bandwagon.
Durant certainly swallowed his pride by signing with the Warriors in 2016, having just lost to them in the Conference Finals in a riveting seven-game series as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite his former team nearly defeating the Warriors—even holding a 3-1 series advantage—Durant left in free agency for the rivals. He was widely (and rightfully) criticized by current and former NBA players, and even by other professional athletes.
Witnessing Durant win two championships with Golden State, four-time All-Star “Boogie” Cousins opted for the easiest path to a ring by leaving the New Orleans Pelicans and inking a one-year contract with Warriors this summer.
Cousins was selected by NBA fans as a Western Conference All-Star starter last season, but was forced to miss the All-Star Game after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Cousins has had little team success since being drafted in 2010. He didn’t come close to sniffing the playoffs in six-plus seasons with the lowly Sacramento Kings and was sidelined for the Pelicans’ playoff run last year as they played considerably better without him.
By signing with the Warriors, Cousins has guaranteed himself a deep playoff run in the 2019 playoffs. While Cousins took a pay cut ($5.3 million), it’s frustrating for basketball enthusiasts—and fans of competition in general—to see another star on Golden State’s roster, which already features All-Stars Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
McCollum would rather beat the best than join the best, unlike Durant and Cousins, which is music to the ears of NBA fans disgusted by the lack of competitive balance of the league. McCollum’s words will be sure to get under Durant’s skin, as he has had trouble in the past biting his tongue when criticism is shifted his way.