“I felt like a lot of stuff in Golden State had reared its head. I felt like it was going to be the end no matter what, especially for that group.”
“It was time for all of us to separate.”2019 – Kevin Durant on Golden State exit via First Take
The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty reached its culmination during the past two weeks in a juggernaut-like fashion that their Bay Area fans have grown so accustomed to. After getting off to an extremely underwhelming start to the season, forward Draymond Green declared, “we suck” after an embarrassing debut loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers. Then, things got worse Wednesday when All-Star guard Stephen Curry broke his hand on a hard fall that required surgery. With the team already reeling in the wake of Klay Thompson’s recovery from ACL surgery, both “Splash Brothers” will now miss time as Curry’s rehab process is expected to take a minimum of three months.
Needless to say, things haven’t been so pleasant in “Pleasantville”…
For now, the Warriors’ best days seem to be behind them. Their position atop the mountains of the National Basketball Association began fading in July with the free-agent departure of two-time Finals MVP forward Kevin Durant, who purchased a one way, cross-country ticket to join the Brooklyn Nets.
Adding insult to injury, Durant appeared on ESPN’s morning debate show First Take Thursday morning and conducted a tell-all interview regarding his departure from the franchise, while going in-depth to express his feelings surrounding his run-in with Green last season. When asked if the spat was a primary factor in his decision to move on from the team, Durant said, “I mean, your teammate talked to you that way, you think about it a bit. But we talked about it, but definitely [it was a factor], for sure, I’m not going to lie about it.”
When asked to clarify his statement, the relaxed Nets’ forward offered that he “just felt like I needed a switch.”
The comments referenced a verbal altercation that Green and Durant engaged in during a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last season, which escalated in the locker room. As a result, Green was asked to apologize for being the aggressor in the matter, only after the team decided to suspend him for one game without pay.
Initially, the stubborn Green refused to swallow his pride and admit his wrongdoing.
“Draymond knew that he was out of line,” Durant said. “As men, we talked about it and everybody around tried to get us to mend it fast because of the season and we wanted to win. But he had his process on how he wanted to handle it and I had my process and eventually, we came together.”
Earlier this week, ESPN analyst Jackie Macmullen reported the Nets were having trouble with newly-acquired All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s reported “mood swings”. During the lengthy feature, she went into detail describing the conversation that Durant, Deandre Jordan, and Irving had while living on a yacht together, in their downtime during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
While drinking on the Silver Cloud during one of the final nights of their stay away from the Olympic Village, Jordan recalls Irving saying, “Hey, this would be cool to do for real,” while also adding, “Let’s all get on the same team and play together.”
From that point on, the trio was in agreement that they would intend to team up. The only thing remaining was “where” this would actually happen, and if it would actually become a reality.
Jordan admittingly had his doubts throughout the years that followed. However, little did he know…the friction created in Oakland last season was detrimental enough to deter Durant from seeing the Warriors’ franchise relocation to San Francisco.
On opening night at the newly-built Chase Center, their were unspoken questions that surely lingered in the back of every Warriors’ fan’s mind. Did Durant take the team’s best days with him while fading off into the sunset after their finals loss to the Toronto Raptors? By opening this new, world-class arena was the franchise providing a symbolic symbol of past glory, or was this supposed to be the start of a new era in which Golden State would seek identity as one of the most prolific league franchises for decades to come?
The answer is still up in the air and will eventually come to light when the team’s decimated roster finally gets healthy by the end of this season. It’s entirely possible that delay may extend into next season, as there is no specific timetable for Thompson’s return. After signing him to a maximum contract worth $190 Million over the next five years, it’s clear the team doesn’t intend to rush the franchise player’s recovery.
Durant is an enigma. It seems that despite all of his success as an NBA superstar, he is never really happy. Originally, he left Oklahoma City to chase rings and greatness with the Dubs’. Now, his departure from “those guys” seems deeply rooted in a quest for inner-peace and happiness. By joining Irving and Jordan on a young, hungry squad, the matured Durant intends to define himself and his legacy in a manner that was questioned after his initial move to Golden State.
Instead of worrying about his status as the best player in the league, or whether or not he will find success with his new organization, the hopeful Durant is focused on becoming the best version of himself. Feeling he has nothing left to prove, the star forward projects an aura of relaxed-confidence that suggests things will pan out for Brooklyn in the end, as long as he focuses on his own growth. Meanwhile, the Warriors seem to lack that same confidence at the moment, for they are stuck up “Shit’s Creek” without a paddle and taking on water fast.
“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… 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.”2019 – Kevin Durant on Warriors experience via Wall Street Journal