Ray Allen left the Celtics for the Heat a month after Miami beat Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and now Kevin Durant is irked that he has to play with LeBron James in the Olympics less than a month after losing to the Heat in the NBA Finals.
Speaking to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Durant said it bothers him that he has to see James everyday as the U.S. Olympic basketball team readies for games this summer in London:
"It does. It does, but what can I do?" Durant said Tuesday. "He's my teammate now. I'm a team player. I can't let that affect this. This is bigger than that. It's tough to lose in the Finals and play the guy you've been going up against for five games who beat you."
Though Durant said he's moving on, James said he knows it bothers Durant:
"It bothers him," James said. "I bet it bothers him and (Russell) Westbrook, you know, they probably don't want to hear about it. It would bother me, it would bother anyone that you lose to someone in the finals, where everyone's competing at the highest level and you want to win and then you have to team up with them not too long, not too far removed from the games.
James called his Finals rivalry with Durant "one of the most profiled matchups in league history."
Kobe Bryant said he's not sure if he could do what Durant is doing every day now going up against James. Bryant's Lakers lost to the Celtics in 2008 but Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett weren't on the 2008 Olympic Squad with Bryant:
"But then again, I wasn't playing on the Olympic team with, you know, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and Garnett," Bryant said. "He's got to look at LeBron every day. I didn't have to do that. So I don't know if I could do that. I'd probably be trying to destroy him every single day in practice to try to, I don't know, take a little of the edge off maybe."