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Kevin Durant adds his voice to criticism of TNT: ‘Them old heads need to go enjoy retirement’

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Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Ratings for the NBA on TNT this season, a welcome relief for the league and the TNT production crew, considering the pandemic, but in recent weeks, game call and studio crew have taken some hits from fans and critics.

It’s not uncommon for example to hear game announcers misidentify players, as they did a few games back when Chris Webber on more than one occasion called Taurean Prince “DeMarre Carroll.” And eight years after the Nets moved to Brooklyn, there are been references to the New Jersey Nets.

But the biggest and latest criticism has been directed at the “Inside the NBA” studio crew, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. Current players are not willing to forgive and forget past grievances. Back in December, Kevin Durant was short with Barkley in a post-game Q. & A, looking down and away while giving him a one word answer on his post-injury rehab. Not only did KD give the Chuckster short shrift, He also was respectful with others on the panel.

This of course came after Barkley had accused Durant of being a “passenger” on the Warriors two NBA championships ... despite having won the Finals MVP twice. KD doesn’t forget.

Then, Thursday night, things got weirder. The “Inside the NBA” crew has gotten down on the current NBA, going beyond well beyond constructive criticism.

An Instagram post by BasketballNews.com’s Etan Thomas sparked a debate about Barkley’s recent comment that NBA players “deserve some preferential treatment” when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine because of how much they pay in taxes. Durant didn’t hold back after seeing that, responding to the post in the comments.

“I don’t know why they still ask for this idiot’s opinion,” Durant commented on the post.

Then, O’Neal had an odd, to say the least, post-game exchange with Donovan Mitchell. O’Neal telling Mitchell that he doesn’t think Mitchell can take his game to the next level. Mitchell, seemingly shocked, could only muster an “Aight...”

Durant checked in on that as well.

“Them old heads need to go enjoy retirement,” Durant commented on an IG post related to the back-and-forth. “These boys have coaches they work with everyday lol.”

LeBron James also weighed in: “There’s a difference between constructive criticism and soft hating though. I’ve seen it both ways come my way, mostly the hate. You can hear it in their delivery.”

It’s unlikely we will hear about any exchange between the NBA and TNT. That’ll be private, but it’s also unlikely the league won’t say anything. Will it mean anything?