The Knicks Wall: Lowe on Porzingis wanting out: “I don’t think he was psyched about playing with Durant. I don’t know how directly that was verbalized to the Knicks, but I’m confident that it wasn’t something that was his Plan A, he wanted to be the face of the franchise.”
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Durant, for instance, is already set up superbly with endorsements and partnerships with tech companies. “I’d imagine there are incentives in certain contracts to playing in a big city. But, I mean, Kevin is in Silicon Valley. So what kind of deal flow is he missing out on?” McCollum said. “He has the advantage over a lot of people because of not only who he is as a player but his business resume speaks for itself.
Jay King: Kyrie on video with Durant: “It’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking. And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I’m asked questions about that? That’s what disconnects me from all that shit.”
Brian Heyman: I asked Enes Kanter if he would recommend the #Knicks for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or any of big FAs this summer: “Of course. It’s a very good organization. Good people. … Amazing city. So I think that they have a really good chance to get good superstars.” #NBA #nyknicks
Yet it’s likewise undeniably true that Steph and Giannis are buddies who are both represented by the same agency (Octagon) and share a mutual admiration that has resulted in Curry and Antetokounmpo selecting each other first overall with the No. 1 overall picks as captains in the first two All-Star drafts. I can promise you, furthermore, that the Warriors have internally mused about a run at Giannis — however futile it may prove to be — in the event they can’t convince Kevin Durant to re-sign this summer. Trying to sign the most attractive free agent available is on the first page of the Golden State owner Joe Lacob’s playbook.
There’s been speculation that Durant’s agent, New York-based Rich Kleiman, could join the Knicks front office if Durant comes. One NBA source believes Durant may want Cook to follow him to his next stop, too. Cook and Durant were part of the same AAU system, playing for the P.G. Jaguars.
The Warriors are favored to three-peat this season and feel their team, buoyed by the addition of Boogie Cousins, is in a good place as they enter the final seven weeks of the regular season. Durant’s future, they claim, is not a dark cloud hanging over their season. “We have no idea what he’s going to do,” said one team source. “Everyone wants him to stay. There’s not much more we can sell him on. If he leaves, we’ll think of it as being lucky to have him for three great years.”
Kevin Durant dominated Sunday’s All-Star Game while the buzz about his pending free agency simply dominated All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. The general consensus among NBA executives, coaches and players is that if Durant were to leave the Golden State Warriors as a free agent in July, his most likely destination would be — wait for it — the New York Knicks. It gets better for fans of the team that plays at Madison Square Garden. The other big story coming out of Charlotte is that Knicks owner James Dolan, according to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, is “courting offers” to sell the club.
It is tough for him to reconcile why fans are often more interested in off-court drama or free agency than the games at hand. “Just the NBA game in general is getting overlooked by speculation and everything,” Durant said. “It’s the soap opera, and we’re all actors just trying to play our roles. My role is to go play ball and answer questions the way I’m supposed to.”
Anthony Slater: Kevin Durant asked about people who think he’ll leave Warriors: “That’s on them. I’ll figure it out once we get to that point.” pic.twitter.com/zfMfcWRPRP
With speculation that Kevin Durant will join New York Knicks this summer heating up ahead of the all-star break, former Pacers great Reggie Miller says to pump the breaks on Durant leaving the Warriors for the Big Apple. “Personally, I can’t see him going to New York,” Miller said in a Turner Sports conference call with former Kings forward Chris Webber.
“If he’s a little surly and upset about what The Athletic wrote about him, if he gets a couple of bad games in New York, under that microscope, he’s really going to be upset,” Miller said. “So you got to factor everything when you’re joining the New York Knicks – the number one media market in the world and in our game. You can’t be upset with the media when you’re back to back NBA champion and back to back Finals MVPs.”
The New York Knicks used an image of rookie center Mitchell Robinson playing alongside the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant in a pitch to season-ticket holders, then deleted the picture to avoid the perception that the organization had an ulterior motive in including Durant, who will be a 2019 free agent, in the pitch. “Game action photos are used all the time for marketing purposes, but given everything going on, we took the precaution of taking the photo down,” the Knicks said in a statement Sunday night. “To be clear, it was one of several rotating photos on the website.”
Stefan Bondy: Knicks statement on including KD’s photo in season ticket promotion: “Game action photos are used all the time for marketing purposes, but given everything going on, we took precaution of taking the photo down. To be clear, it was one of several rotating photos on the website.”
This season is beyond a lost cause, so from a marketing perspective, the Knicks have to look towards the future. Still, they made a curious photo choice when asking season-ticket holders to renew before a Feb. 28 deadline. Durant was conveniently included.
It’s no secret he once tried recruiting Durant to the Clippers back in 2016-17. Knicks president Steve Mills was well aware of his Durant friendship when he obtained him in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster 11 days ago. Is it a coincidence the Knicks have already told Jordan they want him to be part of the future despite being on the last year of a one-year contract? When asked if Durant would be a good fit in New York, Jordan said, haltingly, “I mean, he won two championships with the Warriors so I mean…” He stopped and nodded.
There’s still an overwhelming sense around the league that Durant is destined to sign with the Knicks, but this was as clear a sign of any that the Clippers aren’t giving up on their grand plan of landing Durant and Kawhi Leonard this summer.
Ballmer showcased that part of his personality for an influential crowd earlier this season, according to sources, when he accepted an invitation to speak at the Nike global sports marketing meetings on the company’s Beaverton, Ore. campus. There was no shortage of people in the room that day who have close ties to Durant, the 30-year-old who has been with the sneaker giant since the start of his NBA career and who re-upped on a 10-year deal with the potential to be worth $300 million in 2014.
Stefan Bondy: I have to say, Kevin Durant was cordial and accommodating with New York reporters when we asked him about his free agency last month.
Steph Curry was asked about Durant’s frustration after the game. “Honestly, I think it’s him not being able to control his own voice,” Curry said. “He’s focused on basketball, and that’s what he should do. We want to see that KD every day. What he can’t control is BS that happens in the media or people making the decision for him or all this other stuff. “In terms of him just playing basketball, focusing on what happens out there on the 94 feet, being there for us as teammates, and us being there for him, that’s what he can control. And I think he’s doing a great job of that.
Nick Friedell: Durant said he just wants to focus on basketball. Didn’t want to discuss the Knicks. Believes the media has read into his words too much. That was the most frustrated I’ve ever seen him in a press conference setting.
Nick Friedell: Durant speaks. Says he doesn’t trust the media. He feels his words have been twisted. Spoke for about three minutes and left.
Connor Letourneau: Kevin Durant just walked out of his presser after a heated exchange with media about reports on his free agency. Here’s the beginning of the exchange: pic.twitter.com/asH19fGZKv
Connor Letourneau: Kevin Durant didn’t talk at shootaround today. We’re now on Day 9 of him not speaking publicly. Will be interesting to see whether he talks postgame tonight.
Logan Murdock: Klay Thompson on Kevin Durant’s FA uncertainty: “I think we’re handling it great. You can only control what you can control.” Thompson said the Warriors can’t let outside speculation get to them.
Let us be frank, with the caveat that the choice lives inside the head of one guy who can and does change his mind: Insiders around the league think Kevin Durant is leaving the Warriors for the Knicks. Most people within the Warriors either think Durant is leaving or profess not to know one way or the other. His teammates recognize this reality, can handle it and merely want one outcome: Win a championship, absent too much drama. The main concern, at the moment, is whether he’ll commit in the short term to what he may have already left in the long term.
Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time. While LeBron averaged a 33.6 point-per-game triple-double in that Finals, Durant was superior defensively and hit the series’ biggest shot right in the King’s face. Instead, there was no grand reordering of rankings, and only so much credit to be had for a dominant playoff run. KD, who was “tired of being second” way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory. He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who’s employed Durant longer than any team.
Sources say teammates would understand if KD left what looks like perfection. It’s just a harder sell to the public writ large. What’s the PR-friendly reason for leaving a favorite that appears primed to reign for ages? KD’s catch-22, or catch-35 if you will: He’ll likely be criticized for ring avoidance by the same people who ripped him for ring chasing. None of this would be a problem if Durant tuned out criticism, but few are better known for bathing their own wounds in salt.
The Knicks acquired something else while trading Kristaps Porzingis: a conduit and recruiter to Kevin Durant. New York’s line on DeAndre Jordan is they hope he can mentor their young centers, but, as the Daily News has learned, the Knicks also view him as an asset in their pursuit of Durant.
Jordan, after all, is close with Durant and served a similar role while with the Clippers in the summer of 2016. Durant ultimately signed with the Warriors, but cited Jordan as the reason he even considered L.A.’s stepchild franchise.
He is on a $22.9 million expiring deal and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so the Knicks – who have hopes of signing Durant and another max star – may not be able to bring Jordan back. But they could also use the mid-level exception (almost $9 million per season) to sign Jordan this summer, so it’s certainly possible. The Knicks have another of Durant’s buddies – Royal Ivey – as an assistant coach. Ivey and Durant were teammates on the Thunder for two seasons. Durant once called Ivey his best friend in the league.
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers remains outwardly confident that superstar forward Kevin Durant will decide to re-sign with the team this summer. “I feel like all our players are happy and want to stay with us and continue with us,” Myers said Monday when asked about Durant’s future. “That’s how I feel. But again, I’ve only worked in the NBA as an agent and in this capacity — I thought Jacob Evans was going to be a rotation guy. I don’t know.
The New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis for a package that included DeAndre Jordan, who may actually help them land Kevin Durant. Brian Windhorst mentioned that New York plans to keep the two-time NBA rebounding leader, though many have expected Jordan to end up as a buyout candidate.
Conversations with NBA insiders and executives paint a positive picture for the Knicks, too. Smith is a bit of a gamble — he didn’t excel in Dallas under coach Rick Carlisle — but he has plenty of athleticism and talent. The draft picks, especially if the Western Conference stays as tough as it is today, might turn into lottery selections. But the real win is the possibilities the deal allows for this summer. The Knicks now have enough cap space to sign two players to maximum contracts. The Knicks have been considered by a lot of executives the favorite to sign Kevin Durant, and the trade might signal their confidence that he’s on his way.
Such speculation is nothing new to Durant, who spent much of the 2015-16 season reading about the possibility of him bolting the Thunder. It still poses enough of a distraction, however, to threaten to erode Golden State’s much-prized locker-room culture. Less than three months ago, Draymond Green was suspended a game by the Warriors for unleashing a verbal assault on Durant that centered on how the former MVP has handled his upcoming free agency.
“It’s not easy if you in particular are reading your own name in trade rumors,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said before Saturday evening’s game against the Lakers at Oracle Arena. “Anything like that is difficult. I think you understand, after you have been in the league for a few years, that it’s part of the deal.”
Zion Williamson was alerted after Saturday’s game to a New York newspaper back page, which featured an edited image of stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, along with himself, in Knicks jerseys, and even he couldn’t help but smile about the potential. “I mean, it would be dope to play with KD and Kyrie, but whichever team drafts me, I’ll be ready to play hard and work,” he said.
The idea of Durant and Irving playing together in New York had been whispered about previously. But now that the Knicks have cleared a path to signing both of them outright, it has quickly exploded into full-on speculation. It has been thought for months that Durant’s most logical destination, should he choose to leave Golden State, would be to come East and join the Knicks. Several rival teams this week said that is their full expectation — and that was before the Knicks, clearly feeling confident about their chances, used Porzingis to push all their chips to the center of the table. None of this, of course, has any impact on Golden State’s thinking, sources said. Even if Durant went to team brass and said there was no chance he was coming back this summer — and, to be clear, that hasn’t happened — it’s not as if the Warriors would consider the possibility of trading him. Their plan, as it has been all season, is to go win a third straight title this spring, see what happens this summer and then act accordingly.
Nonetheless, the plan all along has been Durant and Irving, and the Knicks have officially opened up a path to sign them. Durant has wavered between staying or leaving all season, according to league sources. His manager, Rich Kleiman, is a native New Yorker and has even joked about someday running the Knicks. Also, Durant maintains a relationship with Perry from the lone year they spent together in Seattle, and Royal Ivey—whom Durant once called his “favorite teammate ever” and “best friend in the league”—is a Knicks assistant coach. Durant’s future could largely depend on Golden State’s results this season, but New York is at least an option. Now, the Knicks can pitch Durant on coming to New York and teaming up with a proven star—not a theoretical one, like Porzingis.
All around the league, executives who are paid handsomely to track this sort of thing had the same takeaway: The Knicks, who have been widely known to be targeting Durant for so long now and whose general manager (Scott Perry) was part of the Seattle SuperSonics front office team that drafted him out of Texas in 2007, must be very confident that they’re going to get the Golden State star. Some rival executives even reported that Knicks officials themselves have been expressing a very high level of optimism on this front.
Add in the growing concern from rival teams that the Knicks will offer Kleiman a job as part of their plan, and the fact that Durant and Perry are known to still have a good relationship, and you start to understand why New York had everyone’s attention even before this monumental move. But if this truly is in the works, if Durant is planning to bounce from the Bay and take on that yeoman’s challenge of bringing glory back to the Garden, it’s just the sort of thing that will keep the Boston Celtics brass up at night from now until this summer.
New York will target the top players on the market, which is expected to include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving. Some close to Durant see New York as a possible landing spot for the back-to-back NBA Finals MVP if he chooses to leave Golden State, according to league sources.
The Knicks get a point guard of the future in Smith, who had a triple-double at the Garden on Wednesday night, and should now have enough cap space for two maximum free agents — with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving squarely on their radar. A source said general manager Scott Perry and Mavs chief Donnie Nelson were behind closed doors at the Garden discussing scenarios when the Mavericks faced the Knicks on Wednesday night.
The Knicks, on the other hand, haven’t been a preferred destination for years—but there are indications of that potentially changing. League sources believe they have “a strong chance” of luring Durant should he leave the Golden State Warriors this summer and that Davis is “open” to New York as a landing place as well. Throw in a pick in this year’s NBA draft that could potentially add Duke’s Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett or Murray State’s Ja Morant, and there’s finally a reason for optimism in Manhattan.
For those thinking that this could be Durant’s way of starting a pathway back to the Thunder in free agency this summer, think again: There’s no interest on either side for a basketball reconciliation. Both Durant and the Thunder have moved on, with OKC reshaping a new contender around Russell Westbrook and Paul George. For Durant and the Thunder, it appears to be a one-time return engagement that centers around something they both agree on: A fondness and appreciation for Nick Collison’s career with the franchise.
Nate Duncan: “For the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, Boston and Los Angeles are in there…Are there any other teams outside of those two that could realistically get in that mix?” Chris Haynes: “No team is concrete. Obviously there’s some teams looking and lurking. L.A. Clippers, they’re being really aggressive out there. They’re looking at Kawhi Leonard. They’re looking at Kevin Durant. Obviously they’re monitoring the Anthony Davis situation, they’re monitoring DeMarcus Cousins – seeing how he’s gonna progress through the achilles injury.”
It was in this forum, the proper one, where Green explained his free-agency concerns with Durant. And Durant explained himself. He told Green how he could’ve been more communicative but that he is just used to letting his actions speak for him. Durant shows how he feels by his work ethic, how he pours himself into his teammates. He shows he is all-in by being all-in, putting in the time, making sacrifices for the team and playing with all his heart.
If the Warriors don’t three-peat, or even if they do and then Durant leaves in free agency, there will be detractors who probably will point back to the night at Staples Center when Green and Durant were shouting at each other. “I just really didn’t give a damn [about what people outside the Warriors think],” Green said of those wanting to divide Green, Durant and the Warriors. “Because I know at the end of the day, no one wants to see us win again. They would love for us to break up, for it to be broken up by that. Because they can’t, f— … can’t nobody f—ing’ beat us. So, I just look at it and laugh.”
Harrison Wind: Kevin Durant on if the Nuggets have made themselves a more attractive destination for free agents: “I don’t know. I feel like this is a good team, playing great basketball at this point. Great coach, great area. I don’t know.” pic.twitter.com/2qMnaN1BiN
So how about recruiting the league’s biggest free agent to Biggie’s borough? With the league cracking down on tampering — even LeBron James is watching what he says these days — Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn’s ascendant success story at point guard, talked around a good idea. “Why would I actively recruit arguably the best player in the world to come to our team when he would fill the exact spot that we need and potentially take us from just being an eighth-, seventh-seed or so, to an Eastern Conference championship team? Oh please write this down,” Dinwiddie teased to the Daily News. “Why would I do that because then I’ll get in trouble for tampering?”
When asked directly if he would confirm the scuttlebutt the Knicks would be in play, Durant said: “I have no clue where that stuff comes from. I just focus on playing ball every single day. I can’t control what people say about me, or what they say about our future and what I should do. I come to work every single day, and life will figure itself out.” Durant was then asked how it feels to be peppered with New York questions. “I just got to do it,” Durant said. “You guys asked for me, I got to talk. If I don’t, I’ll get fined. That’s all. So I’m just trying to be as honest as I can about the question but also give you what you need for your job but also not say anything that’ll ….”
Regardless, here’s what Durant had to say during the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast (h/t to Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp): “I just want to make sure I get as much money as I can on my next deal so I can stack up my money and figure it out. That’s just the plan. Play basketball and stack money.”
Kevin Durant: Ain’t nobody can’t recruit me no more. Chris Haynes: Why is that? Durant: Because I want to dictate then environment that I want to be in. So it’s just like, you know, you can’t give me the bells and whistles and be like, I would rather see what you do on a daily basis. Like stuff that really doesn’t impress me like arenas doing extra s*** just for me? Like nah. I just want to see if you are a real person. If you are going to hold people accountable every day. Are we all going to come to work and enjoy basketball every day? Yeah and that’s exactly what I’m getting here.
In stating his evaluations of the current roster and the team’s dreadful record, Mills was more measured with his words. He is smart to call this season a rebuilding year, especially with Porzingis sidelined until at least February. Mills then lowered expectations in advance of this summer’s free agency. If the Knicks strike out, Mills can simply say we’re building through the draft. That’s a wise strategy.
What Mills can’t say publicly, because it would violate the NBA’s tampering rules, is that the Knicks are all in on free agent-to-be Kevin Durant. The Warriors superstar is and should be the Knicks’ number one free agent target. And for what it’s worth, according to several NBA executives who attended last week’s G-League Showcase in Las Vegas, the general consensus is the Knicks are still very much in play to land Durant. “Everyone says Knicks,” said one prominent player agent.
“I would say Kevin Durant is back with the Warriors next season.” -David West via @SteinyAndGuru
The cap space for New York in 2019-20 now projects to be $29.5M after the Allonzo Trier signing ($3.55M cap hit). The room takes into account: 1) All free agent cap holds renounced except for Kristaps Porzingis 2) Waiving the non-guaranteed contract of Lance Thomas 3) Their own first round pick. The projected max for a player with 7-9 years of service like Kyrie Irving is $32.7M and for 10+ years like Kevin Durant $38.15M.
The Clippers, it seems, closely watch every Raptors and Warriors game this season. Even though they are having a terrific season of their own — experiencing the rare joy of expectation-free success in the NBA — the Clippers are rather transparently obsessed with chasing Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant in free agency next summer.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who has been more ambiguous about his potential free-agent plans for next summer, said he understands why certain stars might balk at joining forces with LeBron. “It depends on what kind of player you are,” Durant said. “If you’re Kyle Korver, then it makes sense. Because Kyle Korver in Atlanta was the bulk of the offense, and he’s not a No. 1 option at all, not even close. So his talents benefit more from a guy who can pass and penetrate and get him open. “If you’re a younger player like a Kawhi, trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn’t really make sense. Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it’s how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don’t need another guy.”
Durant also noted that the suffocating media attention around James doesn’t help, either. “So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is bullshit attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
Kevin Durant’s free-agent decision looms large for Golden State. He has made it clear that he doesn’t know what he’ll do next summer. But if the two-time Finals MVP decides to stay with the Warriors, his commute would actually become easier. Durant’s condo in San Francisco is not a far drive from where the new arena is being built. In fact, KD is the only player on the current roster living in San Francisco. “I wanted to be in the big city and mix it up a little bit,” Durant told The Undefeated. “It’s close to the [Bay] Bridge and the practice facility and arena [in Oakland]. I wanted to try it out. I’ve never lived in a big city before by myself. I wanted to learn more about the flow of the city.”
The Warriors hope Durant will continue to make his home in San Francisco as he will be the league’s most coveted free agent next summer. The nine-time All-Star was on hand when the Warriors broke ground on their new arena, called the Chase Center, and also recently got an updated tour of the arena on Nov. 9 with team sponsors and the media. “I’ve been hearing about it for so long,” Durant said. “Two years ago, I went to the groundbreaking. Now, I just wanted to see how far they’ve come with it. It looks amazing. I just wanted to see it.”
In talking about the Knicks and their off-season target, Kevin Durant, Woj said New York will probably “get a meeting” with the Finals MVP, but threw a bit of cold water on their chances, at least from a historical perspective. “Getting a player like Durant takes years of building up a program, building up an infrastructure, building credibility with what you’re doing and history kind of shows you that it doesn’t get short-circuited by a guy who’s a big free agent,” said Woj. “If you’re talking about Kevin Durant, some people say he may be the best player in the league. “History also tells you that that player usually either stays where he is or he goes somewhere where something’s been established there and has been building toward this. The Knicks may not fit that description.”
On whether he wishes he had approached free agency differently. Kevin Durant: “I know your guys’ job. I know that’s a topic of discussion amongst, not just me, but a lot of players that are coming up on contracts. But that’s the nature of the beast that we’re in. I’m not saying that I enjoy talking about it, because I know it should be all about just playing the season out, and that’s all I want to do. I get it, but at the same time, I’d rather just focus on playing basketball.”
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant said last week’s well-publicized, in-game exchange with Draymond Green that resulted in Green’s one-game suspension will have no bearing on his future with the franchise and that he’s more than ready to move on from the incident. “Nah, [it won’t factor],” Durant told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “Because at the end of the day, I’m just a ballplayer that’s just trying to be in a great environment to play basketball and groom my skills every day. And I want to compete on a level that once the game starts, I’m just totally comfortable with my surroundings, with just going out there and being me.”
“I never really felt like it was a problem, because I know Dray and he says some crazy [expletive] out his mouth all the time,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “But on top of that, it was just that there was so much coming with it from the outside, and so much stuff that we have to answer now.”
“I was upset, but I know that I can’t hold on to something like this,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I know that I’ve got to make a choice with myself, like how long are you going to be upset about this to the point where you’re going to let it affect what you do on the floor or how you approach the game? Once it gets there now, I got to make a grown-man decision and tell myself, ‘Look, man, no matter what, you still got to come to work every single day. It’s going to work out. It’s going to figure itself out.’ And I think everyone’s been handling it the best way they could and we’re just trying to move forward with it.”
Based on my time around the Warriors so far this season, I would argue that fears about Durant leaving in free agency actually weighed on the organization heavier last season than they do now. Various Warriors staffers were never sure, at occasional points last season, if Durant was truly enjoying the Golden State experience. In Year 3, they’ve largely learned to stop sweating it. Green, of course, is the exception. The timing and manner in which he brought up Durant’s looming free agency made it clear that the topic is very much on his mind.
For most of Durant’s teammates, though, as well as the Warriors’ foremost decision-makers, I don’t sense that they’ve been obsessed with what may or may not happen in July. Are they already convinced, as some have suggested, that he’s leaving for the Knicks or the Clippers or whoever? Perhaps it’s better to describe the approach as bracing for the worst-case scenario in hopes that the sting is lessened should it come to fruition.
According to sources, this entire saga isn’t about Durant’s free agency as much as it is Draymond’s vocal attitude about Durant’s free agency. There may be others in that locker room who don’t like how Durant has navigated these waters — and our Marcus Thompson has reported that there is — but no one has chosen to share those views like this. “No one cares except for Draymond,” one source insisted.
As The Athletic reported, there are those who believe Durant is leaving at the conclusion of the season regardless of how the team finishes. And if that occurs, fairly or not, Monday’s verbal altercation will come up as a reason for his departure.
As The Athletic reported, there are those who believe Durant is leaving at the conclusion of the season regardless of how the team finishes. And if that occurs, fairly or not, Monday’s verbal altercation will come up as a reason for his departure.
Hunter Atkins: Draymond Green’s first comments since flair up with Kevin Durant: “I’m never going to change who I am… I read a lot about how…’Did I force Kevin to leave?’…Whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, we had great years together. I support everybody.”
Jeff Zilgitt: Draymond’s statement, saying he would address the issue one time and one time only. Didn’t apologize. But said the Warriors wouldn’t crumble because of an argument. Worth a listen.
This is, amazingly, the second most likely scenario in play. Durant Knicks buzz has been percolating around the league since June. In September, a league source told SI that the wheels for a New York move were already in motion, in much the same way LeBron’s L.A. move had been (allegedly) scripted well before July 2018. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of that claim.
While the Golden State Warriors remain confident that Kevin Durant will stay with the team next season, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN says he’s “hearing differently.” He broke down the latest rumors Wednesday on The Stephen A. Smith Show (beginning around 20:55): “I’m hearing the Knicks and the Lakers, with the Lakers having the edge. That’s what I’m hearing. Two weeks ago, I heard the Knicks had the edge. Now, I hear the Lakers have the edge. Let me tell you something, it appears to be one of those two teams which is Kevin Durant’s next destination. But Golden State is telling me: ‘There’s no way in hell we believe he’s leaving. We believe Kevin Durant’s gonna stay.'”
Green flipped the topic of conversation on Durant by challenging him on the handling of his free-agent season, league sources told The Athletic, perhaps creating more issues that will need to be addressed.
While sources say that Green’s treatment of Durant on the court was the primary reason for their choice to take approximately $120,000 out of his bank account, it’s clear that his caustic comments to Durant that related to free agency played a pivotal part here too. If only we lived in a world with unending candor, where the press release might include a line like, “We’d strongly prefer that Draymond doesn’t pack Kevin’s bags for him and book his flight on one of those Alaska Airlines planes that feature his smiling face and incredible wingspan, and so he was suspended.”
According to several in the locker room, Durant could have ended this by just saying how much he loves playing with the Warriors and his teammates and leave it at that, even if he departs in the offseason. They are all prepared for him to leave so they just want the cloud hanging over them to go away. Another option would be to reject all questions about free agency and force the media to focus on this season, a way of protecting his teammates.
Durant has said he doesn’t want to lead anybody on. But Green is part of a contingent that believes Durant has a hand in creating the hype about his free agency, a tangential focus that detracts from their mission of winning a third straight title.
The general consensus: Green was wrong for going so hard at Durant instead of having a hard-but-civil conversation, and Green was wrong for when he decided to address this situation — in the middle of a game they were trying to win. Green admitted as much to Curry and several believe he would have (and still will) cop to that. But the general consensus also is that Green’s concerns about how Durant has handled free agency weren’t off base.
So if it happened to turn into a meme, so what? Durant said he didn’t exactly know what he was getting into by agreeing to do the tour but chuckled when recalling that a few excited reporters asked him if he’d commit to re-signing with the Warriors right then and there, on camera. “What are we doing here?” Durant said then with mock exasperation and repeated it Saturday. “I mean, what are we doing here? I was just curious and wanted to take a look. I ain’t signing shit right now.”
The Golden State Warriors’ recruitment of Kevin Durant took another public step on Friday afternoon as the organization gave the All-Star forward a guided tour of Chase Center. Durant, who is expected to test free agency this summer, toured the Warriors new facility along with a group of sponsors and media. The Warriors will move into the Chase Center next summer and will begin playing there next season after 47 years at Oracle Arena.
As Durant walked around the construction site, he said he couldn’t help but think about what his future may look like if he decides to stay with the Warriors after this season. “My imagination is going wild right now with possibilities,” he said at one point.
When a reporter asked Durant if he was going to commit to stay with the Warriors as he considered where his new home would be, Durant smiled and brushed the question aside. “What are we doing?” Durant said, while Warriors staffers tried to move the tour along. “What are we doing?”
They’re celebrating the mundane this season, having fun with Curry’s explosions and Thompson’s beard and headband, and even remixing Fergie’s eyebrow-raising national anthem from the All-Star Game last year. So when the subject of Durant-to-New York comes up, Green doesn’t bat an eye. “When that decision comes up, I think we’ll have won three championships,” Green told Yahoo Sports. “That’s my recruiting: three out of three.”
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February 22, 2019 | 9:34 pm EST Update
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets announce the signings or Chris Chiozza and Terrence Jones to 10-day contracts. Chiozza assigned to the Vipers.
Mark Berman: #Rockets announced signing of @Terrence Jones. He’ll be in uniform Saturday night against Golden St: “Just excitement, it’s a blessing. I’m happy to be with the team. Just to be able to get familiar with Coach Mike & the offense early, I’m definitely ready if my number gets called”
Rod Boone: Final: #Hornets 123, Wizards 110 Kemba 27 points/11 assists Nic Batum 20 points/8 rebounds J. Lamb 16 points/6 rebounds Miles Bridges 14 points/6 rebounds Bradley Beal 46 points/7 assists/6 rebounds Hornets start off their 4-game homestand with a win. Brooklyn up next tomorrow
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal is now tied with Earl Monroe for 5th in Wizards/Bullets franchise history for most 40-point games. He has 10. The guys still ahead of him: Gilbert Arenas (28) Walt Bellamy (23) Bernard King (13) Elvin Hayes (11)
Darnell Mayberry: Final: Bulls 110, Magic 109. Lauri Markkanen makes the game-winning free throws after being fouled on a 3 by Aaron Gordon with 1.5 seconds left. Markkanen finishes with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Zach LaVine with 22 points and six assists.