Kevin Durant hasn’t spoken much this summer about his decision to leave the Warriors for the Nets in free agency, but he opened up on that topic in a conversation with J.R. Moehringer of The Wall Street Journal.
As Durant explained to Moehringer, after going through an extended series of meetings during his free agency in 2016, the star forward didn’t feel the need to do the same in 2019. He didn’t even need to speak to the Nets before making his decision, having felt confident from the outside that Brooklyn was the right fit.
Durant also noted that the motion offense the Warriors run “only works to a certain point,” and that the later rounds of the postseason require him to get more creative on offense. According to Moehringer, the 10-time All-Star wanted to go somewhere where he’d be “free to hone that sort of improvisational game” over the course of the season.
The opportunity to join his “best friend in the league,” Kyrie Irving, was a plus for KD too.
Over the course of Moehringer’s piece, Durant offers a handful of interesting thoughts and observations on his fit with the Warriors, his relationship with the Thunder, and his feeling about the NBA. Here are a few of those highlights:
On never fully fitting in with the Warriors:
“I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted. But I’ll never be one of those guys. I didn’t get drafted there.… Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first Finals, first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there. And the rest of the guys kind of rehabilitated their careers there. So me? S–t, how you going to rehabilitate me? What you going to teach me? How can you alter anything in my basketball life? I got an MVP already. I got scoring titles.
“As time went on, I started to realize I’m just different from the rest of the guys. It’s not a bad thing. Just my circumstances and how I came up in the league. And on top of that, the media always looked at it like KD and the Warriors. So it’s like nobody could get a full acceptance of me there.”
On the hostile reaction he received from the Thunder and their fans when he returned as a Warrior:
“Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena. And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain’t talking to me? I’m like, ‘Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?’
“… I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that. I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don’t trust nobody there. That s–t must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain’t talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.”
On the business of the NBA:
“Some days I hate the circus of the NBA. Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game. Sometimes I don’t like being around the executives and politics that come with it. I hate that.”