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#pounditWednesday, December 2, 2020

Kevin Durant

Nets GM Sean Marks says Kevin Durant could return this season

Kevin Durant

If and when the NBA returns to finish the 2019-20 season, could Kevin Durant return with it?

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks left the door open to a possible return this season when asked about it by Grant Chapman of New Zealand-based Newshub.

“That’s a $110m question,” Marks said. “In all seriousness, we’ve tried not to talk about his timeline a lot. He knows his body better than anybody. Our performance team and training staff have done a tremendous job getting him to this point, but I just don’t know how coming out of this pandemic will affect anybody, let alone Kevin.

“When you’ve got enough invested in a player like Kevin, we’re never going to push him to come back. When the timing is right, he’ll be 100 percent when he gets on the court. I can tell you this though — before the pandemic, he looked like Kevin Durant and that’s a good thing.”

Durant was expected to miss the entire season as he recovered from Achilles surgery. It may be that that’s still the case. This is, however, a shift in Marks’ thinking compared to the last time he tackled this question.

Kendrick Perkins: Beef with Kevin Durant is over

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins says the beef he had with Kevin Durant is over.

Perkins and Durant were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder for parts of four seasons, including the team’s NBA Finals run in 2011-2012. But things turned this year after Perkins described Durant’s choice to join the Golden State Warriors as cowardly. Durant fired back at him, and a beef seemingly was on. But Perkins says things are good between them now.

Perk appeared on “Pardon My Take” for an interview and discussed Durant’s choice to join the Brooklyn Nets. Perkins says he would have joined the Knicks if he were Durant, but he’s fine with the choice his ex-teammate made.

“But either way, I’m happy for him. Me and Kev, we’re alright. We good peoples. We don’t have no beef,” Perkins said. “I just hope he gets healthy — which I think he is — and I have him picked to win the MVP.”

Why does Perkins believe KD will win MVP when he returns? Perkins believes not being healthy is “killing” Durant.

And while he no longer has a beef with Durant — something he tried to work out after Kobe Bryant’s death — Perkins says he still has time to talk with the trolls if they want to argue.

“It’s whoever want the smoke, because I got the time. If they want the smoke, I’m bringing the fire.”

As for Durant, he hasn’t played this season as he’s recovered from his torn Achilles, and he’s probably not returning even though this season has had a delay.

Draymond Green has issue with Kevin Durant letting free agency situation linger

Draymond Green

Kevin Durant’s free agency status left a cloud of uncertainty hovering over the Golden State Warriors all last season, and Draymond Green wishes things didn’t unfold that way.

Green spoke with Maverick Carter and Paul Rivera on “Uninterrupted” for a video published on Monday. During the program, Green talked about the Durant situation.

Green said he wished Durant had just been honest with the team and media about it being his last season with the Warriors rather than leave lingering uncertainty.

Green’s comments came in the context of “The Last Dance”, which aired on ESPN Sunday night. The title of “The Last Dance” documentary is a reference to Phil Jackson’s moniker for the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-1998 season. Jackson knew it would be the last time that dynasty would be together and made sure his players knew that entering the year so they could give it their all and make the most of the season.

Similarly, Green wishes Durant were more transparent about his future plans because he feels that would have eased tension within the locker room. A report last year said Durant and Kyrie Irving had already made plans to team up prior to the season. But Durant’s lack of transparency led to a blowup in the locker room between him and Green, which ultimately helped push Durant out the door.

Durant ended up spending three seasons with the Warriors, winning two championships and suffering a torn Achilles tendon last year in the Finals as his team lost to the Raptors. Though signing short-term deals with options allows players to maintain power over the team, it also creates chemistry issues within the locker room, as Green explained.

Kevin Durant was sensitive about fans favoring Steph Curry over him

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has moved on from Golden State and was in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets prior to the league going on hiatus. KD spent the three previous seasons with the Warriors, winning two championships and losing in the Finals last season. KD suffered a calf injury early in the playoffs and a torn Achilles tendon when he tried to return in the Finals.

During his time with the Warriors, Durant did not feel like he completely fit in. One of his big issues was he felt fans were forced to pick between him and Steph Curry at times. He even accused one writer of trying to drive a wedge between them.

Ethan Strauss has written a new book called “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty,” and an excerpt from the book was published this week. In the excerpt, Strauss details an exchange he had with Durant on Jan. 5, 2019. The exchange came a day after Strauss wrote an article saying the Warriors sometimes sacrifice efficiency in their play in order to placate Durant.

Strauss writes in the first person in recalling the exchange:

I tried to make a few points, saying I didn’t begrudge him for having leverage with his contract, and insisted that I had good reason to write what I wrote. KD wasn’t impressed and accused me of trying to “rile up Steph’s fans.”

He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph’s a– at his expense. This was KD’s consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense.

In one such exchange that foreshadowed things to come, he was asked by the WarriorsWorld account whether two-time MVP Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving was the better player. “I gotta really sit down and analyze it,” Durant demurred.

Durant has long been a sensitive person who is affected more by fan and media negativity than the average player. And even when Curry was trying to defend KD, the issues seemed to become too much for Durant by the end of his time in Golden State, leading him to leave the team.

In some regards, the dynamic between two superstars on the same team makes for a great talking point with the media, so yes, Durant is correct about the media’s narrative. On the other side, Durant also needs to learn to let it go, but instead he too often did not. Maybe it’s a lot easier said than done.

Nets GM avoids topic of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving returning this season

Kevin Durant

One interesting consequence to the NBA season being postponed is that players who were rehabbing from injuries now have the possibility of returning.

Kevin Durant has been rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the NBA Finals last year. Kyrie Irving is rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. With the season pushed back, both players theoretically could be medically cleared to play this year.

Despite the possible clearance, Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks tried to downplay the matter.

“I couldn’t even give an answer on when they’ll be able to play this season,” Marks told reporters on Wednesday, via the New York Post.
“I don’t think that’s fair to those athletes nor the performance team to put a timeline on it. Everyone is dealing with bigger items, far more pressing items.”

Marks also noted that even though the medical timelines now are in sync with the season, the inability of players to go to the team facility may have pushed things back.

Even if the players theoretically could return, we doubt it happens. Kevin Durant’s agent said a summer return was unrealistic.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant among few NBA players already receiving 90 percent of their salary

LeBron James

The current work stoppage has complicated financial matters for most NBA players, but LeBron James and several others are better off than the majority.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Tuesday that players are receiving paychecks on April 1 but have not been assured further payments. Stein also notes that roughly 90 percent of NBA players will have received less than half of their 2019-20 salaries by the time that the April 1 checks go out because they are on 12-month payment plans.

However, James and several other Klutch Sports clients had negotiated “all-you-can-get” deals that pay out 90-plus percent of their 2019-20 salaries by April 1 as part of an accelerated six-month payment schedule. Also included in this group of roughly 20 select players are Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin, among others.

What is also interesting is that the likes of Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell, both of whom signed with Klutch Sports more recently, are not among the ten Klutch players mentioned. Neither is Ben Simmons, who is still technically on his rookie contract (though the same could be said about other players who are listed like Darius Garland and Miles Bridges).

The NBA salary cap and player incomes are already expected to drop because of the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, and this is yet another negative side effect for the league and the vast majority of their players.

NBA planning players-only ‘NBA 2K’ tournament featuring Kevin Durant, others

Kevin Durant

The NBA may not be able to resume its season in as timely a fashion as it originally hoped, but the league is planning an event that will hopefully give basketball fans something to look forward to.

The NBA is organizing a players-only tournament for the video game “NBA 2K20” that will feature some of the league’s best gamers, including Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that the 16-player tournament will be broadcast on ESPN and span over 10 days. The goal is for the event to launch on Friday.

Other players taking part in the tournament include DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond. The league is still finalizing the details.

The White House recently extended its social distancing guidelines through April 30, and many states have issued “shelter-in-place” orders as the coronavirus continues to spread. It seems unlikely that the NBA or any other sports league will resume play before June, which is why we have seen leagues exploring other ways to keep fans entertained. A video game tournament is certainly better than nothing.

Ex-Warriors teammate gives encouraging Kevin Durant update

Kevin Durant

Quinn Cook is providing an encouraging update on the Kevin Durant front.

Appearing Friday on NBC Sports Washington’s “Wizards Talk” podcast, the Los Angeles Lakers guard said his former Golden State Warriors teammate Durant is “doing great” in the wake of his positive test for the coronavirus.

“He’s good. He’s good,” said Cook. “His spirits are good. K is in great spirits, still being K, man. Low, mellow, chill, moving at his own pace.”

“He’s just encouraging social distancing, staying inside and don’t expose others,” Cook added about Durant. “For him to step up to the plate and use his platform to spread awareness, it’s brave. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s fine. He’s doing great.”

Cook, who was teammates with Durant on the Warriors for two seasons in a stretch that netted two Finals appearances and one championship, is currently on 14-day quarantine with the rest of his current Lakers teammates. Durant was one of four Brooklyn Nets who tested positive for the disease, and they faced the Lakers in their final game before the suspension of the NBA season on Mar. 11. The Lakers have since had two unnamed players test positive for the coronavirus as well.

The two Maryland natives have been called “best friends,” so Cook’s update about Durant is especially weighty and reassuring.

Drake self-isolating after partying with Kevin Durant

World-famous rapper and Toronto Raptors ambassador Drake is taking precautionary steps after recently hanging out with Kevin Durant.

Sara Nathan of Page Six reported on Wednesday that the four-time Grammy winner is self-isolating in his Toronto mansion after he partied with Durant in West Hollywood, Calif. last week. The Brooklyn Nets star confirmed Tuesday that he was one of four players on the team to test positive for the coronavirus.

The Nets played the Lakers in Los Angeles on Mar. 10, and while Durant is still recovering from an Achilles tear, he was in attendance for the road game.

Earlier this week, Drake posted a video of his apparent home basketball court to Instagram and wrote “My life for the next however long” in the caption.

The “Marvin’s Room” singer is particularly tight with Durant, so it makes perfect sense for him to exercise caution, especially since they were together so close to Durant’s diagnosis.

Kevin Durant among Nets who tested positive for coronavirus

Kevin Durant

Four members of the Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the coronavirus, and it turns out one of them is a huge name.

Kevin Durant confirmed to Shams Charania of The Athletic that he is one of the four Nets who has the virus. He appears to be one of the three members of the team who is currently asymptomatic.

The Nets announced four positive tests Tuesday afternoon. We do not know the identities of the three other players.

Durant immediately becomes the biggest NBA name to test positive. The Nets haven’t played the Utah Jazz or Detroit Pistons, who also have players with positive tests. Even if they had, Durant hasn’t been playing in games. The fact that we don’t know where Durant and the Nets contracted the virus demonstrates just how important it is that everyone remains very careful at this time as the virus spreads through communities.