Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant made it quite clear in Saturday’s showdown that the two former teammates haven’t let bygones be bygones. With the NBA All-Star Game less than a week away, how will Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr keep the situation between the two stars civil when he takes the reins of the Western Conference squad?
Doc Rivers said when he coached the Eastern Conference All-Stars in 2008 and 2011 while with the Celtics he made sure to cater to other players even at the expense of his own players.
“I made sure they loved me, the other ones,” the Los Angeles Clippers coach said, via the Associated Press. “I knew my guys liked me. That was not my concern.”
Rivers admitted that he didn’t ask his former Celtics players whom they wanted to play with during the exhibition game or even how much playing time they wanted.
“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?’”
Tempers flared between Westbrook and Durant during the Warriors’ 130-114 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City, the first time Durant had played in OKC since leaving for Golden State last summer. The Warriors have four players on this year’s Western Conference All-Star team – Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – and now Kerr is in the awkward position of keeping Westbrook, the reigning two-time All-Star Game MVP, happy while not alienating his stars during Sunday’s festivities.