Kevin Durant offered his thoughts on signing with the Nets and playing with Kyrie Irving for the first time in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.
Here are a few takeaways:
On why he decided to sign with the Nets: "Because I wanted to," Durant said. "The basketball was appealing."
He later added: "If I was leaving the Warriors, it was always going to be for the Nets. They got the pieces and a creative front office. I just like what they were building."
On when he made his decision: "June 30. That morning. I never wanted to disrespect the game by putting my focus on the future. It was always about that day, focusing on that day and what was most important that day. And throughout the season, basketball is the No. 1 thing."
On teaming up with Irving in Brooklyn: "I think the friendship part of the league has really grown, especially since LeBron James and Dwyane Wade became such great friends and ended up playing together. People see friendship as the way guys are teaming up. There's nothing wrong with people speculating. That's just what it is, but we're just good friends no matter what. We didn't have to play together. It wasn't necessary. But, we were friends before anything, and we just happened to want to hoop together. But it wasn't a thing we planned. It just came together."
On if he will miss the entire 2019-20 season as he recovers from a torn Achilles: "I don't know. Just like I didn't know I was going to get hurt. I don't know. We'll see. I'm early in the process. So I'm grinding every day. I'm not even trying to think that far. That's not going to do me any good. So I just try to focus on what I can control right now, second by second. Who knows? We'll see.
"But once you get to learn your body a little bit more and you realize what this injury is, you know, it's going to take a lot of work for me to get back to full strength. I was at a point where mentally and physically, my body and mind had met at the right point and I had reached a level that I never reached before. My mind is still there, now my body just has to catch up. Once that does, I'll be fine."
Durant's decision to sign with Brooklyn over the Knicks was a coup for Brooklyn and a gut-punch to New York. The Knicks made several moves to free up cap space with the idea of signing two stars and Durant was their top target. The move isn't without risk for Brooklyn though. The Achilles injury is a difficult one for basketball players to return from. The Nets also lost a player that helped them make an unexpected run to the playoffs last season in D'Angelo Russell to make room for Irving, Durant and fellow free-agent signee DeAndre Jordan.
Even without Durant, though, the Nets appear to be one of the stronger teams in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks, who signed Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and others with their $70 million in cap space, probably can't make the same claim heading into the season.