Kevin Durant once referred to Kendrick Perkins as his favorite teammate ever.
In the wake of Durant's departure from the Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets, Perkins has been making the rounds on TV and social media, providing his personal insight into the situation.
Perkins joined ESPN's First Take Tuesday morning, and made a couple of things abundantly clear. He remains close to -- and unabashedly supportive of -- Durant, and consequently has some residual animosity towards Golden State.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from Perkins' interview was that Durant does not regret his decision to attempt to return in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, when he regrettably suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
"He don't. I talked to him and he told me, he said, "Perk, I'm a grown man. I made the decision to come back. I don't regret it."
That's obviously good to hear. Durant will miss all of next season recovering from the injury, and it would be easy to look back and wonder if it all could -- or rather, should -- have been avoided.
Despite the fact that Durant doesn't regret his decision, which was made in collaboration with the Warriors' medical staff and third-party doctors, Perkins still takes issue with Golden State's role in it.
"I think the Warriors' medical staff, I think the front office ... I think they dropped the ball," Perkins said. "And then all of a sudden you have a guy in Andre Iguodala who comes out on The Breakfast Club and kills the medical staff and says how they misdiagnosed him also, and how he was playing on, I guess, a fractured foot and they was telling him that he could play when he really wasn't supposed to be playing."
Kendrick Perkins says that the Warriors retiring Kevin Durant's jersey was a sign of guilt. Also says he talked to KD about the Iguodala injury situation from last year and that KD said it didn't surprise him. pic.twitter.com/OGgVxowmfI— Chris Montano (@gswchris) July 2, 2019
Iguodala, of course, has since softened that stance, so that's not exactly an accurate assessment. Iguodala's injury was actually correctly diagnosed, and occurred under an entirely different medical staff than Durant's. So, there is no continuity.
Still, the Warriors clearly feel some responsibility for Durant's current plight, and have attempted to convey as much. "I wish I could go back," Steve Kerr said after the Finals. "I'm so sorry."
On Monday, the day after Durant announced his intention to sign with the Nets, Joe Lacob issued a statement in which he announced that for as long as he is co-chairman and CEO of the Warriors, "no player will ever wear #35 for the Warriors again."
It was a grand gesture to one of the iconic members of the greatest teams in Warriors franchise history. Perkins, however, sees it coming from a different ambition.
"I think Joe Lacob and the ownership owed it to Kevin Durant to retire it," Perkins said of No. 35. "In my opinion, it's a sign of guilt."
It's easy to understand why Perkins would feel compelled to come to the defense of -- or go on the attack for -- such a dear friend, but his inherent bias has come at the expense of fairness and/or accuracy at times. For instance, he took to Twitter to call out the Warriors for retiring Durant's jersey number, but not Iguodala's.
Since the Golden State fans think I'm A hater and just taking up for KD then why didn't the owner announce that IGGY Jersey would also be retired yesterday? He was just as valuable to that organization as KD! Iggy was the first finals MVP of their first Championship!— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 2, 2019
One major problem, Perk: Any comment made by the Warriors during the moratorium period (until July 6) regarding Iguodala's reported trade to the Memphis Grizzlies would be a violation of league rules. Durant was a free agent. Iguodala is not. Therein lies the difference.
But hey, the NBA CBA isn't exactly Dr. Seuss. It's easy to be unaware of all the countless stipulations and rules. So maybe it's unfair to point to that tweet as evidence of an anti-Warriors bias on Perkins' part, right?
Alas, if only.
Last thing and I'm done with Golden State! So Golden State took out a full page ad congratulating Toronto but didn't do it for it Cleveland! Was it because of the Kyle Lowry thing? Hidden agendas!!!— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 2, 2019
Perkins has now gone out of his way to criticize the Warriors for retiring his good friend's number, and for congratulating the city of Toronto for the first championship in Raptors' history.
Those Warriors. What a bunch of jerks.