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#pounditWednesday, April 14, 2021

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant fires back at ex-NFL player who criticized his championships

Kevin Durant

It’s been a somewhat common refrain among Kevin Durant’s detractors that he took the easy road to a title by joining the Golden State Warriors. It’s also been normal for Durant to strongly defend himself against those detractors.

One such detractor is Jay Richardson, a former NFL linebacker-turned-media personality. Richardson was dismissive of Durant recently saying that he “earned” his two NBA titles, and laughed at the quote via Twitter.

The Brooklyn Nets forward had a response for that, too.

Durant knows what people say about him. He’s been known to respond like this. There’s no doubt that he thinks about his legacy, and he doesn’t want anyone discrediting him over joining the Warriors at the peak of their powers.

This isn’t likely to dissuade anyone who already thought that. But Durant has a right to respond, if nothing else.

Kevin Durant wants to retire with Nets?

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has yet to play in a single game for the Brooklyn Nets, but they already appear to have made a very strong impression on him.

The former MVP appeared recently on The Players Tribune’s “Text Message Text Show” with retired swingman Dorell Wright. One of the questions Wright asked Durant was if the former MVP saw Brooklyn as his final career stop.

“As of today, this second, yes,” Durant replied.

The two-time Finals MVP recently turned 32 and will be entering his 14th year in the league next season. The Nets are an ideal situation for Durant given co-stars like Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan can help him compete for a title immediately. They also have a good long-term outlook with younger players such as Caris Levert and Jarrett Allen. New coach Steve Nash should give the team plenty of sustainable stability as well.

Granted, Durant’s comments left a bit of wiggle room for him to change his mind. He also made similar remarks at a prior stop, which turned out to be false. But Durant is under contract for at least the next two seasons, and the Nets should be confident in their ability to keep him around for awhile.

Kevin Durant shares why NBA Bubble champion will be highly respected

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant disputes the narrative that this year’s NBA champion will lack respect.

Durant made an appearance on Joe Budden’s podcast on Monday. He was asked whether this year’s NBA champion would be respected in the same way as the champions of a standard season.

“Yeah, of course. You still have to play against these dudes,” Durant said.

Durant added that you can’t hold it against the players for winning amid the circumstances.

The Brooklyn Nets forward went a step further, saying he thinks this year’s champions will be even more respected.

“I think it will be respected for sure. Probably more respected. It’s tough for the boys in there. They’ve been away from everybody for that long. To be the last one standing? That’s going to be tough,” Durant said.

There are reasons to view this year’s champion differently from other seasons. This season had a four-month interruption; the regular season was cut short; not all the teams were involved in the restart; there is no homecourt advantage; there are no fans; and there is no travel. All these factors might mean we will get a pure champion that won in a neutral environment. The champion will have had to endure a few months of living in the NBA’s bubble environment. Achieving success in this environment is not easy, as one star showed us.

So even though a prominent NBA analyst felt this year’s champion deserves an asterisk, Durant is arguing otherwise.

Kevin Durant takes shot at Knicks fans over reaction to his recent comments

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant thinks that any New York Knicks fans who are upset about his recent comments can cry him a river.

Appearing this week on “The Joe Budden Podcast,” the Brooklyn Nets star shaded Knicks fans after being told to “leave the Knicks alone” by a co-host. Durant recently said that he never wanted to go to the Knicks in free agency.

“Y’all bothered me for a whole year,” said Durant. “I was trying to just chill and play and worry about my season. But all these Knicks fans and all these Knicks media bothered me the whole year. When it’s my time to talk about it, I gotta shut up now? … Y’all been one to ask these questions for a year. Now that I’m available, it’s a problem?”

You can listen to the audio here (but beware of some foul language).

Durant had been anointed the next savior of the Knicks franchise leading up to his 2019 free agency. So Knicks fans were naturally crushed when he instead chose to sign a couple miles away with the rival Nets.

Granted, media and fans were the ones really hyping up the Durant-Knicks link, and the former MVP should not be criticized for speaking his truth now that it is his turn. There may have been another reason that Durant spurned the Knicks as well.

Steve Nash reveals bold plan for Kevin Durant next season

Steve Nash

Steve Nash will be wasting no time getting creative next season as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

This week on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, Nash revealed his bold plan for star forward Kevin Durant, who will be returning from injury.

“Kevin, with his length, is a matchup problem for everyone,” said Nash, per Coby Green of SportsNet New York. “Kevin can play all five positions, and I plan to use him in all five positions.”

Nash is already well-familiar with Durant’s skillset, having served as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors during Durant’s time there. The ex-MVP Durant missed all of this season recovering from a torn Achilles. But as an elite scorer and quality ball-handler at 6-foot-10, Durant does have the ability to play anywhere on the floor in today’s positionless game.

We know Durant has a great deal of respect for Nash’s basketball mind. The Nets also do not have any true seven-footers on their current roster. Thus, Durant could headline an exciting new brand of downsized play under Nash.

Kevin Durant says he never wanted to go to Knicks

Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets over a year ago, there was a feeling that the New York Knicks blew a shot at turning things around for their tortured franchise. As it turns out, they never had a shot.

During an appearance on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter this week, Durant said the idea of being the “savior of the Knicks” never appealed to him. He also says he was never lured by the popularity of the franchise.

Many were shocked when Durant signed with the Nets. After he won multiple championships with the Golden State Warriors, some felt Durant would look to cement his legacy by rescuing the Knicks. Apparently he never had any intention of trying to do that.

There was a report after Durant turned down the Knicks that they may not have been willing to offer him enough money, but that reeked of spin from a team that missed out on yet another elite player. Given Durant’s comments this week, it seems even more likely that he simply wanted nothing to do with James Dolan’s team.

Kevin Durant took funny shot at D’Angelo Russell

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant and D’Angelo Russell were part of the same trade last summer, but they do not appear to be the closest of friends.

Appearing this week on “The Boardroom: Out of Office” podcast, Durant took a funny shot at Russell. Amid a discussion about NBA players with the greatest cultural impact, Durant’s fellow guest mentioned LeBron James and Damian Lillard but mistakenly referred to Lillard as “D-Lo.” Upon hearing “D-Lo,” Russell’s nickname, Durant incredulously replied, “Who?”

Indeed, Russell may not be anyone’s first choice in the debate over which NBA stars most move the culture. Nevertheless, Durant’s dumbfounded reaction was pretty funny. After all, Russell headlined the return package that the Golden State Warriors received last offseason in their sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets for Durant.

Russell, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, was not too popular in Golden State. It looks like he may not be too popular with Durant either.

Kevin Durant reportedly wants Nets to hire Gregg Popovich

Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets have officially begun their search for a new head coach, and it has been widely reported that they plan to heavily pursue Gregg Popovich. That pursuit is apparently fully supported by Kevin Durant.

Popovich is a “favorite” of Durant and has been for years, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Durant reportedly dreamed of Popovich coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder before they hired Bill Donovan back in 2015. There is said to be “tremendous mutual respect” between Durant and Popovich.

Kyrie Irving appears to be on board, too. ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan wrote on Sunday that Durant and Irving want the Nets to hire a high-profile coach like Popovich or Tyronn Lue.

Popovich is considered one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, and many star players would welcome the opportunity to play under him. It’s no surprise that the Nets want to hire him, though there has been no real indication that Pop is open to leaving the San Antonio Spurs.

Nets GM Sean Marks played for Popovich in San Antonio and later worked under him as an assistant. Interim head coach Jacque Vaughn and assistant coach Tiago Splitter also played for Popovich, so there are plenty of connections there. However, the comments Marks made about Popovich last month make it seem like the Nets know hiring him is a true long shot.

Kevin Durant earns $1 million bonus without even playing in a game

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant scored a sweet bonus without actually playing in a game this season.

Durant’s Brooklyn Nets beat the Sacramento Kings 119-106 to clinch a playoff spot on Friday. Clinching the spot meant that Durant was able to secure a $1 million bonus as part of the terms of his contract, according to Bobby Marks.

Durant ended up making $38,199,000 for the 2019-2020 season even though he did not play due to his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. Brooklyn signed him knowing he would miss the year, so paying out the bonus might be a pleasant surprise about the team’s season, especially when you consider Kyrie Irving has also been out due to injury.

The Nets clinching wasn’t the only move regarding the playoff scene.

The Washington Wizards on Friday became the first team part of the NBA restart in Orlando to be eliminated from playoff contention. Their loss to Memphis meant the Orlando Magic clinched one of the final two playoff spots in the East.

Kevin Durant defends Kyrie Irving for speaking the ‘raw truth’

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is backing his friend and teammate Kyrie Irving against criticism.

Durant appeared on the “Play for Keeps” podcast and defending Irving, who is frequently the subject of stories for things he says and does. Durant says that happens because Irving tells the “raw truth”.

“The truth can hurt a lot of people. When you tell the raw truth, especially in this society, it’s frowned upon. And Kyrie just tells it how it is,” Durant said on the podcast, via the New York Daily News. “There’s no sugar-coating it. If he walks into the gym one day and says, ‘I don’t like how this is going.’ It’s probably not going well. But he just doesn’t mind voicing it.”

Durant also says that the media used Irving for clicks when it came to the objections to the NBA restart in Orlando.

“In this situation with the NBPA, he wasn’t the only one who had problems with what was going with the NBPA. Everybody had concerns,” Durant said. “But obviously he’s Kyrie the biggest one. That’s going to sell papers especially at this time during the pandemic, nobody is getting paid. So if you have an opportunity to get some clicks, it’s easy to use Kyrie.”

Durant may say that, and perhaps there was some sensationalism going on, but Durant omits that Irving’s idea was also the most extreme. Irving reportedly was talking about starting a different league separate from the NBA. That’s why he got so much attention.

Of course, the players signed together to join the Brooklyn Nets last year, so it’s no surprise that Durant would have Irving’s back. Neither player is participating in the restart due to injuries. That was said to be a factor in Irving’s reported rebellious plan.