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Latest News / Aug 16, 2014 / 1:30 pm

Report: Durant Left Team USA Under Influence Of Agent Jay-Z, Roc Nation

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (Alonzo Adams, USATODAY)

The circumstances surrounding Kevin Durant’s abrupt departure from USA Basketball last week have always been murky. The reigning NBA and FIBA World Championships MVP officially cited mental and physical fatigue as means for his decision, but rumors immediately swirled that his looming endorsement switch from Nike to Under Armour was his primary justification. And just over a week later comes a report lending credence to that notion, plus much, much more.

In a wide-ranging, pessimistic report bemoaning the influence of agent Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports, Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops says that Durant quit Team USA under guidance from his representation. And according to Sheridan, it’s not just Durant’s undecided shoe contract future that is causing the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar widespread disharmony – it’s the cumulative actions of Jay-Z and company that are really taking toll on Durant.

Team USA is only the latest entity to be left with a sour taste after dealing with Durant and [Jay-Z]. The folks at Nike aren’t exactly happy. The folks at Gatorade already were unhappy.

“It’s like Jay-Z is determined to do a scorched earth negotiation with everyone Kevin Durant is currently aligned with, and they aren’t doing him any favors,” one source close to Durant told SheridanHoops on Friday as Team USA prepared for its first exhibition game in preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

Durant left former agents Aaron Goodwin and Rob Pelinka for Jay-Z and Roc Nation last summer, a landmark signing for the music mogul’s burgeoning sports agency. Prior to Durant joining Roc Nation, it didn’t represent a superstar basketball client.

Jay-Z’s general hubris coupled with that inexperience is making things difficult for Durant, Sheridan says. In addition to ruffling feathers with Gatorade last September when he spurned them to shill for Sparkling Ice, Durant’s recent actions have not only done the same with Nike, but USA Basketball, too.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski nearly said as much in an exclusive interview with Sheridan, alluding to Durant’s detached attitude since Team USA’s training camp broke in late July.

“Looking back, if you could turn back time. you would like for him to make that decision before Vegas. We might have invited somebody different,” Krzyzewski said. “But saying that, that’s in the past, we’re forward, and it puts us a little behind, just like the injuries.”

More from Krzyzewski, in an exclusive interview with SheridanHoops:

“I think he had a good camp, not a great camp,” the coach added. “He was not as vocal as he usually was. Even after Paul (George’s) injury, he was saying ‘What can we do when we go to Chicago to get the guys to rally?’ So that’s the reason we were caught unexpected. I asked him to be a leader, and he was leading after the Vegas game.

“And then he wasn’t with us. ”

That Durant left Team USA and Nike is the sole provider of apparel and equipment for USAB is hardly coincidence either, Sheridan says.

Durant has been with Nike since entering the NBA, and Nike has a close affiliation with USA Basketball and FIBA. Clearly, there would be some discomfort if Durant decided to leave Nike at a time when he was scheduled to be traveling to Grand Canaria, Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid on a three-week overseas trip where he would be riding on the same bus with numerous Nike executives. That dynamic surely played a part in his decision to quit the team.

Jay-Z and Roc Nation are reportedly at the genesis of all this discord. Rather than looking out for their client’s longterm best interest, Sheridan says many believe Durant’s representation is instead intent to capitalize on the rapidly ascending height of his star.

And it’s not just KD’s peripheral relationships that are suffering. According to Sheridan, Durant’s brain trust of family and friends is feeling the ill effects of Jay-Z and Roc Nation, too.

I have heard more about Durant’s inner circle – and the feuds and fallout he is experiencing – than I am comfortable reporting. But I will say this: All is not well with the reigning MVP. Far from it. What we are seeing now is the manifestation of that dysfunction.

Durant’s departure from Team USA seems to be the continued manifestation of friction ushered in by Jay-Z as opposed to a decision based on his preparation for the 2014-2015 season. And if that’s indeed the case, it’s disheartening to know that such ancillary business influence is weighing so heavily on not just one of basketball’s best players, but its best people, too.

Which is why we’re so confident that Durant will ultimately overcome this reported swell of negativity. Let’s just hope he does so sooner rather than later. It would be a shame if his play on the court suffered as a result of this relative, ongoing nonsense.

What do you think?

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  • Rob Stewart

    A falling out with Nike, Gatorade, and team USA may be a good thing. Just because there is friction and conflict doesn’t mean it’s bad. Sometimes it means the exact opposite.

  • Lil wayne

    Durant need to join young money

  • David

    Exactly bad for them because they’re used to getting things done their way probably.

  • Kalen Bevy Lipsey

    This article is deep and makes so much sense. I am still shocked about KD choice not to play he loves the game and he gets 20points light in FIBA play.

  • JAY

    A falling out with 3 major entities in basketball is never a good thing.

  • 2cents

    This is another example of a “leech” industry, now running the main business. Just think about it. A player could still get deals without an agent, but does an agent get anything without the player? It’s like the banking industry around the world.

    It’s cool that Roc-Nation wants to turn the existing world of merchandiising deals on it’s head, but it better be for KD’s interest and not their own bottom-line. After all, a player like KD doesn’t play for endorsement deals – he is one of the few that has a love for the game. Don’t ruin that Jay-Z.

  • Eric Houston

    Of course there trying to throw Jay Z at the top of the problem because he is actually looking out for KD future!!! Jay Z an his new company is going to ruffle alot of feathers because alot of these crooks will be cut loose that has been robbing these young athletes for years!!!

  • TAISEO

    Jay-Z is not an agent.

  • joyce ward

    Yeah exactly. The problem with Nike, Gatorade and USA Team Select is that everybody is looking out for their own interests. If Under Armour wants to offer Kevin Durant $325 million dollars, then I would take it.Coangelo is not on the up and up either about the FIBA.

    They wanted Kevin Durant to carry the team on his back for free. This whole report is to throw shade at Jay Z.Jay Z has it right Nike and Gatorade are in the bed with the NBA and he doesn’t think his client needs to play along because it is KD busting his butt on the court not them. Team USA, Nike and Gatorade, “to coin a phrase, “sit down hoe”…smh

  • CPBuff22

    This shows the problem with many Americans today. No patriotism. It is one thing to turn down the oppertunity but something completely different to leave over issues with who provides team apparel. If you remember the Dream Team there was a big stink because Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen among others covered the Reebok logo on their uniforms with the American Flag during the Gold Medal Ceremony fast forward 22 years and people are defending Durant from pulling out because he doesn’t want to get injured. It’s sickening and disrespectful to a player like Paul George who was injured while representing his country or to Derrick Rose who is playing even though he has only played 10 games in the past two years.

  • NY CHRI$$$ ????????????.????????????????????

    Fuck patriotism for america

  • squatty

    and transfering power to Roc nation is even worse… his UA shoes gonna look as ugly as roc-a wear was.

  • Guest

    “Falling out with the 2 of largest, most respected, and innovative entities associated with basketball and the national team of the United States may be a good thing.”

    Could you just walk me through some scenarios where it might be a “good thing”?

  • http://www.patrickallendavidson.com Pat

    KD joined the illuminati

  • http://www.patrickallendavidson.com Pat

    sounds to me like jay z is getting rich off them while offering short term money or large lump sums

  • http://www.patrickallendavidson.com Pat

    I think you can bounce back from leaving nike and gatorade but quitting team usa doesn’t look good at all

  • http://www.patrickallendavidson.com Pat

    and why would anyone want to leave nike or gatorade for underamour and some sparkling water?

  • D REAL

    you got to have balls to tell nike,gatorade,and team usa to go fuck themselves !