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#pounditSunday, January 29, 2023

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant shares who is on his Mt. Rushmore of small forwards

Kevin Durant with a hood on

May 8, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) warms up before game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant is among the greatest small forwards of all time. Who does he think belongs up there with him when it comes to the best small forwards of all time? He recently shared his list.

Durant conducted an interview with Chris Henderson that was published on Friday. In the interview, Henderson asked Durant to name his Mt. Rushmore of small forwards. Henderson said that Durant was one of the faces on the mountain and asked him to name the other three.

Durant named LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Larry Bird as his other three players.

When it comes to small forwards, Durant included some of the best ones. But many people would argue against Leonard’s placement on the list.

Julius Erving, Elgin Baylor, Scottie Pippen, Rick Barry and James Worthy are often regarded as some of the other best small forwards of all time. Many would argue for Erving or even Pippen’s inclusion in the top four over Leonard.

Leonard won championships with two separate teams — the Spurs and Raptors — which aided his argument in a big way. But he’s played so little since signing with the Clippers that his stock is down in the eyes of many people.

The Leonard choice is debatable, but the three others are not.

Kevin Durant interested in buying part of Commanders

Kevin Durant looks up

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders may be available for purchase, and D.C. native Kevin Durant would be very much interested if they are.

Durant told Nick Friedell of ESPN that he would be interested in a minority stake of the Commanders if the opportunity became available, though he was not exactly getting his hopes up.

“Of course,” Durant said. “I don’t have a lot of money, though. I don’t have that much money to say, ‘Look, man, let me get a piece of the team.’ So I’m sure it would have to work out some way, somehow. I would love to, obviously, but to be honest, I doubt that it’ll happen. It’s a five-, six-billion-dollar team.

“In a perfect world, I would be a part of it. I would love to do it. I would love to give a little bit of my money to be a part of the Commanders, but we’ll see. Hopefully it’s somebody nice. I heard [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos and Jay-Z, but you never know.”

Durant is referencing reports that Bezos and Jay-Z could work together to purchase the Commanders from owner Daniel Snyder. Those reports have been widespread since Snyder announced that a potential sale was being explored.

Durant may actually be underestimating the Commanders’ market value. If he were to become involved, he would likely only be able to afford a small share of the franchise, but he seems fine with that. His involvement probably would not be bad for PR, if nothing else.

Amazing photo of Kevin Durant’s ankle-breaker on Wizards goes viral

Kevin Durant breaking Daniel Gafford's ankles

Kevin Durant had his James Harden-on-Wesley Johnson moment against the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

The Brooklyn Nets star Durant went viral for his sadistic ankle-breaker on Wizards center Daniel Gafford in the first half. Durant hit Gafford with a vicious double crossover move, turning his foot ligaments into spaghetti before sinking the jumper from the right elbow. Check it out.

The Nets’ official Twitter page did very right by the moment by sharing an amazing angle of Durant’s ankle-snatcher. In the photo, you can see Durant rising up for two as Gafford contemplates his very existence lying flat on the floor underneath Durant (click on the picture for the full wide view).

You really have to feel for Gafford there. That is the look of a man who was playing basketball one second only to suddenly be playing Twister the next.

To add insult to injury, the Wizards also ended up getting throttled by the Nets, losing (at home, no less) by a 128-86 final. If there is any saving grace though, Gafford and the Wizards are far from Durant’s first career victims.

Nets’ reported stance on Kevin Durant trade revealed

Kevin Durant looks up

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets made a franchise-shifting move on Tuesday when they parted ways with head coach Steve Nash, and some have wondered if a teardown of their roster could follow. That does not appear to be the plan, at least at the moment.

Kevin Durant obviously has the highest trade value of any player on Brooklyn’s roster. According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, there has been no indication from Nets general manager Sean Marks that the team will explore potential trades involving Durant.

Durant is said to have a good relationship with Ime Udoka, who is expected to eventually be named the head coach of the Nets. The two worked together when Durant played for USA Basketball and Udoka was an assistant coach. Marks obviously believes that Udoka can help turn some of Brooklyn’s misfortunes around, even if he is leaving the Boston Celtics amid a troubling scandal.

When Durant requested a trade over the summer, one report claimed he did not believe in Marks and Nash. The two-time NBA Finals MVP also likely knew that the Nets were not going anywhere. If that was how he felt, he has been proven right through the early part of the season.

It is possible that the Nets will change their mind about trading Durant, and teams are almost certainly going to inquire about him.

Kevin Durant shares how he reacted to Steve Nash news

Kevin Durant dribbles the ball

Oct 11, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets probably would not have moved on from Steve Nash without Kevin Durant’s blessing, but the two-time NBA Finals MVP insists he was stunned when he heard the news.

Nash and the Nets announced on Tuesday that they have mutually agreed to part ways. After Brooklyn’s 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls just hours later, Durant was asked for his thoughts on the team’s head coaching change.

“At about 1:15 I woke up from my nap and turned to the right and saw it on ESPN,” Durant said. “I was shocked. You’re always shocked when a move like this happens but it’s normal in the NBA.”

It is hard to believe Durant was as shocked as he says. The Nets almost certainly consulted him before they fired Nash, unless of course Nash was the one who initiated the divorce. Either way, the only shocker would be if Durant was left in the dark.

When Durant sought a trade during the summer, there was talk that Nash was part of the reason he no longer wanted to play for the Nets. If he wanted to play for Nash and Nash only, Nash would probably still be the head coach in Brooklyn.

NBA Hall of Famer has harsh criticism of Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant with a hood on

May 8, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) warms up before game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

One retired NBA great is going Lil B mode on Kevin Durant.

Speaking Thursday on NBATV, Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas gave a harsh criticism of the Brooklyn Nets star Durant amid the team’s 1-3 start.

“The thing that I’m noticing right away with Durant is that he used to get 30 [points] and that meant he dominated the game,” said Thomas. “Now his 30, it’s just 30.

“Normally, when he got 30, it was like, ‘OK, the game’s over,’ and his team won,” continued Thomas. “Now it’s a 30 where you are still asking, ‘What happened?’ He’s still got great numbers. But the dominance in terms of ‘I get 30, [and] we win,’ it’s just not there any more.”

Thomas was speaking in the context of Durant having an NBA-worst plus-minus of -58 (a stunning number for a player of his caliber) this season.

Of course, there is a lot of statistical noise here, especially in a four-game sample size. Durant, who is averaging 32.2 points a game on an efficient 52.4 percent from the field, is playing a lot of minutes next to Ben Simmons (who has glaring problems of his own right now). The former MVP Durant is also having to get used to starting alongside another new teammate in Royce O’Neale plus an old one in Kyrie Irving who was barely available last season.

Granted, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize both Durant and the entire Nets organization right now. But odds are that Durant, once he gets comfortable with his new teammates, will be back making a strong impact on winning basketball once again.

Kevin Durant has interesting comments on Draymond Green altercation

Kevin Durant with a hood on

May 8, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) warms up before game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant is opening up a bit this week about the recent scandal involving his best frenemy.

The Brooklyn Nets star Durant spoke with Nick Friedell of ESPN and gave his thoughts on ex-Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green sucker-punching Jordan Poole during practice earlier this month.

“It’s rare,” said Durant of the violent incident. “It’s rare. I’ve been in the league 16 years, and I’ve never seen that until the other day on camera … It’s very rare that something like that happens. It’s none of our business. But it happened to be part of our daily conversation because we’ve seen the videos. We all got our opinions, but to be honest, mine don’t matter. It is what it is.”

The former MVP Durant, who spent three total seasons with Green and the Warriors and won two championships in Golden State, also addressed the comparisons between the Poole punch and his own infamous incident with Green. In 2018, Durant and Green had a blow-up during a game against the LA Clippers which led to Green being suspended by the Warriors for one game (a harsher penalty than the team gave Green for the Poole incident).

“That’s not the same situation,” said Durant of the comparisons. “Somebody got punched in the face … It’s no comparison to that. It was just some words … What me and Draymond did a few years back, that s–t happens all the time. So it’s easy to get through something like that, but I don’t know what this situation is like.”

Durant makes some other noteworthy comments about the Warriors in the full interview with Friedell (which you can read here).

The 34-year-old Durant left Golden State before Poole arrived, but Durant knows Green all too well. Though Durant and Green seemed to have fixed their relationship when they won gold together on Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics last year, there all still signs that they do not see eye-to-eye. That makes Durant’s thoughts here on Draymondgate particularly interesting.

Kevin Durant taunts Oklahoma coach during Texas blowout

Kevin Durant looks up

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant was one of many Texas fans to revel in Saturday’s blowout victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, and he had some words for the Oklahoma coach during the game.

Durant, a Texas alum, taunted Sooners coach Brent Venables during the 49-0 blowout, mockingly telling Venables to “pass the joystick” as his team got blown out.

Venables got off easy here. Durant could have been way meaner. Oklahoma’s performance certainly justified some brutal one-liners, after all, since the game was never close.

Ironically, it was Oklahoma fans more visibly doing the social media trolling prior to the game. That obviously did not last, and Venables was left licking his wounds after a brutal head coaching debut in the Red River Showdown.

Nets eyeing player with link to Kevin Durant?

Kevin Durant looks up

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Kevin Durant is officially here to stay in Brooklyn (at least for now), the Nets may be further tailoring their roster to him.

Sean Deveney of Heavy spoke this week with an unnamed East executive who said that the Nets “would like to have” Orlando Magic seven-footer Mo Bamba. The executive notes that the Miami Heat have registered interest in Bamba as well.

Bamba, 24, averaged 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game last season in Orlando. He returned to Orlando on a two-year, $20.6 million contract this summer, meaning Bamba cannot be traded until Jan. 15.

But Bamba, a former No. 6 overall pick, has a notable link to Durant. They both attended college at the University of Texas and have been spotted hanging out at school events before. Bamba is also a native of nearby Harlem, N.Y.

If the Nets need more frontcourt help around the trade deadline, they could certainly do worse than a rangy two-way pterodactyl like Bamba. But there might be a prominent Western team getting involved for Bamba too.

Kevin Durant criticizes media for trade demand questions

Kevin Durant looks up

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant continues to face questions about his offseason trade drama, and the Brooklyn Nets forward clearly is not enjoying addressing it.

Durant was asked Friday about inaccuracies in reporting around his offseason trade demand, and he tried to cut off the questioning then and there. Durant conceded that it was an “interesting story,” but that he did not miss any games or practices, and that it was time to “move on past that.”

Durant cannot really have it both ways here. After all, there was some belief around the league that one of his strategies to try and force a trade was to cause as much drama as possible. Part of that would have certainly involved using the media to draw attention to certain things. It’s tough for him to try and quiet this down now after he arguably spent most of the offseason trying to fuel it.

Durant blinked first in his standoff with the Nets and withdrew his trade request. Eventually, everyone will move on to a certain degree, but without clear answers from Durant, the chatter will never go away completely.