Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Here are a few takeaways from a great profile of Kevin Durant in the Wall Street Journal...
Durant's decision to sign with Brooklyn surprised one of his closest friends
The Journal article details Durant's decision-making process during free agency. He made the call to sign with Brooklyn over a meal at Manhattan restaurant Cipriani with his business partner and friend, Rich Kleiman. Kleiman went through a final overview of all of Durant's options -- including, presumably, the Knicks.
"All right. Well. I'm going with Brooklyn," Durant said.
The Journal reports that Kleiman was taken aback. Durant told the newspaper that the decision was a simple one, and he didn't call or meet with the Nets before he made it.
"He's always felt big love as a visiting player at Barclays Center, he says, and he wondered what it might be like if he were on the home team. Plus, the Nets offered the opportunity to join his "best friend in the league," Kyrie Irving," the article states.
While the Nets signed Durant and Irving, the Knicks were left without a top star in free agency. They pivoted by signing some veterans on short-term contracts and adding young big man Julius Randle on a three-year deal.
Durant, who plans to live near the Nets practice facility in Brooklyn, is rehabbing his surgically-repaired right Achilles. He tore it in the NBA Finals. It's unclear if he will play this season. The entire Journal article offers a detailed view of the new Net and is worth your time if you're interested in a detailed look at Durant.
Annoyed by the NBA drama
Since he left Oklahoma City for Golden State, Durant has been at the center of a ton of off-court NBA drama. He told the Journal, "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."
He also talked to the Journal about being bothered by the disproportionate reactions from fans, executives and media to the NBA's current events.
"We talk about mental health a lot. We only talk about it when it comes to players. We need to talk about it when it comes to executives, media, fans."
Leaving OKC, GSW
Durant talked about the fallout from leaving Oklahoma City and some of the reasons he left Golden State, where he won two titles. Here's Durant on the reaction of Thunder fans when he returned to Oklahoma City as a member of the Warriors in 2017:
"Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena," he told the Journal. "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?"
Durant said he'll never be attached to Oklahoma City again because of a fan who shot bullets into one of his jerseys in a video posted on social media.
"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 shit 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 leaving the Warriors, Durant said, "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.
"As time went on," he says, "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."
Durant also talked about the Warriors' offense, which is renowned for its ball and player movement, as being less effective in the postseason when teams can game-plan for its intricacies. Interestingly, the article notes that Durant was seeking a place where "he'd be free to hone that sort of improvisational game throughout the regular season."
He found that place in Brooklyn, though the Nets offense under Kenny Atkinson is predicated on a great degree of ball and player movement. It will be interesting to see how Brooklyn will adjust once Durant's back on the floor.