The Golden State Warriors were able to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals to secure their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals. They also did so without megastar Kevin Durant, who has been dealing with a calf injury.
As a result of the Warriors’ playoff dominance without Durant, there have been many suggestions that the Warriors could be just as good or even better without him. In a media appearance on Friday, Durant addressed the idea.
Durant was asked directly what he thought of the suggestion, and responded that he wasn’t bothered so long as the team does well. As for whether he thinks the team is better without him, he simply disagreed with the assertion.
It’s hard to get away from that [kind of talk]… My perspective is I want to focus on rehab and I also want to be a fan of my teammates… As a player, I think about that and all I can say is it’s not true…
The two-time NBA Finals MVP has missed five straight playoff games with a calf injury and is expected to miss the start of the 2019 NBA Finals. The Warriors won all five of those games.
Kevin Durant knocks down the talking point that the Warriors have been better without him pic.twitter.com/znTPfc3aTS
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 24, 2019
Prior to his injury-shorted Game 5 in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Rockets, Durant was averaging 35 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in the playoffs. The point average was the highest of his career in the playoffs.
Whether Durant is willing to state it outright, it’s hard to deny that his impending free agency decision could very well be decided by whether the Warriors are able to three-peat without him.
Durant is being heavily tipped to go to either the New York Knicks or the Los Angeles Clippers, so those two teams will likely be watching the situation very closely.