Kevin Durant has opened up about his NBA free agency decision and everything that transpired with the Golden State Warriors in an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ insider Chris Haynes.
The two-time NBA champion, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency this summer, revealed that he did not place any blame on Golden State for his Achilles injury, despite many feeling that he was pressured to return too soon.
Perhaps the most-intriguing revelation from the interview, though, was the reporting of a request the Warriors made to Durant during the season.
There were a bunch of rumors about Durant leaving during the season, and he chose to respond to those rumors by staying quiet – if not combative at times – when speaking to the media.
This reportedly didn’t sit that well with the Warriors.
For Durant, it was unwarranted, irresponsible chatter that took on a life of its own, with his future largely overshadowing the team’s quest for a three-peat. And it took a toll on the Warriors. The only way Durant knew how to defuse the dialogue was to keep his mouth shut and focus on his craft.
His approach made some uneasy, with ownership, management and coaches privately questioning — and in some cases inquiring — whether Durant was at peace with the franchise.
On a few occasions during the season, a team official asked Durant to liven up his disposition, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Durant revealed that he simply chose to dive deeper into basketball as all of this was happening.
“I just dove deeper into the game,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I just worked out as hard as I could and focused on being the best player I could be every day. In particular in practice, I really had fun diving into that. I never felt that deep about the game and about every part. Even the small parts from a drill we did in a defensive segment to hitting the game-winner and everything in between. I just really dove into that as I was hearing all of this noise around me.”
It worked – almost, anyway.
The Golden State Warriors made it back to the NBA Finals, despite injuries to several players, and might’ve added another championship if not for the blows to Durant and Klay Thompson.
Now, Durant will attempt to contend with Brooklyn, though it’ll be a while until he returns to the floor.
You can read his full interview with Yahoo! Sports here.