Free-agency awaits, but Durant won’t talk about it.
KD wants to focus on Warriors as free-agency questions greet him in N.Y.
NEW YORK » The free- agency questions await Kevin Durant, and he remains adamant about swatting them away as if he were protecting the rim.
Does Durant find it enticing to sign with the New York Knicks next summer presuming he declines his $31.5 million Warriors player option? When the Warriors (4-1) play the Knicks (1- 4) today at Madison Square Garden, will he consider the World’s Most Famous Arena his future home?
Durant does not want to answer those questions. He is more than willing to address topics, though, that pertain to theWarriors after winning two NBA championships and two Finals MVPs in consecutive seasons.
Did Durant have any selfish motives when he became a ball dominant, isolation player in the Warriors’ seven-game series against the Houston Rockets in the 2018 Western Conference finals?
“That’s bull—,” Durant said. “Total bull—-.”
After winning two consecutive NBA titles with three other All- Stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, would Durant like a bigger role on another team?
“It’s so much fun having a 6-3 guy running around with his partner who’s 7-feet or 6-9, shooting 3s and having a good time,” Durant said of Curry. “That’s great basketball.”
How much value does he put in the Warriors’ synergy that has involved daily conversations with generalmanager Bob Myers and frequent talks with coach Steve Kerr?
“Everybody has a defined role. Coach, GM, owner all the way down to the last man bench,” Durant said. “We know exactly what we need to do. There’s no confusion.”
Durant explained why he has felt comfortable with the Warriors for reasons beyond collecting championships and Finals MVP trophies. He also expressed appreciation for howhe has developed as a player and a thrived in an environment that he says remains free of individual agendas.
“With our relationship,” Du-
rant said, “I feel like I’ve been heremy whole career.” DURANT EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED AGAINST HOUS
TON » Durant obviously has not been with the Warriors his whole career. He joined Golden State as a free agent in 2016 after spending his first nine season with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder franchise. Durant appeared in six NBA playoffs and one NBA Finals during that span, but he never collected a championship ring. The Thunder also squandered a 3-1 series lead to Golden State in the 2016 Western Conference finals. Questions arose during and after Durant’s departure about his dynamic with and Russell Westbrook.
No such issues emerged with the Warriors’ teamoriented culture that centered on blending All- Star talent, swift ball movement and efficient shots. The Warriors’ offense changed dramatically, though, in the 2018Western Conference finals against Houston. Then, Durant took over.
“The plays we usually get weren’t happening,” Durant said. “The quick 3s we were getting from Klay and Steph weren’t happening. Houston did a great job in taking it away. My job is to go get a basket over anybody that I can.”
That strategy initially worked. The Warriors stole Game 1 despite Thompson (6 of 15) and Curry (1 of 5) shooting inefficiently from the arc. Durant made up for that with 37 points on 14of-27 shooting. The Rockets’ switch-heavy defense partly stemmed from conceding the reality that Durant would score a lot. They tolerated that as long as his other teammates didn’t. Durant still played efficiently in Game 2 with 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting. But the Warriors lost with Curry (7 of 19 fromthe field) and Thompson (3 of 11) still missing shots.
“Steph wasn’t shooting great. Klay wasn’t either,” Durant said. “Alot of people were blaming that on me. But I was like, ‘ No way. My job is to get us iso buckets when they switch on us.’ ”
That strategy became less and less effective. In Games 4, 5, and 6, that strategy did not work. Durant shot a combined 23 of 63 from the field.
Durant eventual ly changed course and had 34 points on 11- of-21 shooting in a Game 7 win. In that same game, Curry (10 of 22) and Thompson (8 of 13) rediscovered their marksmanship. Behind the scenes, Durant said that his teammates and Kerr offered support about the public criticism he received for his high-volume shooting.
“Not close to being an issue,” Durant said. “It was just the first time since I was here a team made us think, made us strategize and make adjustments to our offense.” FINALS CO-MVPS » Durant admitted that he follows the Warriors’ coverage closely. “I read all that,” he said. Durant also acknowledged what the burner account and his responses to Twitter and Instagram commentors reveal. “I’m a socialmedia guru,” he said.
The biggest talking point that bothers him? “A lot of people think I get in Steph’s way,” Durant said.
Durant heard that plenty when he won his second Finals MVP award after the Warriors swept Cleveland in the 2018 NBA Finals.
“If he was the one winning Finals MVP, I would’ve been there supporting him. He supported me,” Durant said. “It did not matter. He played MVP-type basketball. He didn’t get the trophy. But he got a championship. It’s not about that. We both played great basketball. We should’ve been co-MVP’s.” DURANT ENJOYS THE WARRIORS’ WAY » During his championship journey the past two seasons, Durant has relished his constant talks with those in the organization. He said that “Steve has done a good job” in communicating with players, seeking their input and offering suggestions on how to craft his system to benefit his stars and role players.
“With Bob, we talk every day just about life and just about basketball. We talk about so many different things. With Steve, he has to manage so many personalities on the team. When we get a chance to sit down and talk, we always talk about how he can help me out on the floor and how he can help me feel more and more comfortable.”
Kevin Durant would rather discuss the Warriors’ back-to-back titles than answer queries about his intentions regarding free agency.