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#pounditSunday, September 20, 2020

Kevin Durant

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.

Did Kevin Durant take a shot at WNBA player with tweet?

Kevin Durant

Did Kevin Durant take a shot at a WNBA player with a tweet he sent during the week? Some thought so.

Durant sent a tweet while presumably watching the New Orleans Pelicans-Utah Jazz game on Thursday and complimented Brandon Ingram’s playing ability.

Durant’s tweet did not reference Ingram by name, but instead by his jersey number.

While that is a fairly common way for sports fans to communicate about players whose games they are watching, Durant’s tweet came a day after a WNBA player objected to Andre Iguodala complimenting her by referencing her jersey number instead of her name.

So was Durant merely complimenting Ingram and nothing more was intended, or was he also trying to rub it in to Aerial Powers a day later? That’s up to you to decide.

Kevin Durant’s ‘The Boardroom’ show cancelled by ESPN+

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant’s show “The Boardroom” has not been renewed after two seasons on ESPN+, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Tuesday.

Durant, along with his business partner Rich Kleiman and ESPN analyst Jay Williams, hosted the show. The program aimed to “bring fans behind the scenes of the modern boardroom, showcasing the evolution of sports business through the minds of athletes, sports executives and tech moguls alike.”

The show was created by Thirty Five Ventures, which is a business arm created by Durant and Kleiman.

Durant, 31, did not play this season and is not participating in the NBA’s restart in Orlando as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the NBA Finals last year. Durant is a 10-time All-Star, 2-time NBA Finals MVP and NBA champion, and won the 2013-2014 NBA MVP award. He publicized The Boardroom when announcing his decision last year to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving involved in Nets’ head coach search

Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets are consulting with two of their best players in determining who will be their next head coach.

Nets GM Sean Marks says that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who were both signed last summer, are being consulted regarding the search.

“It would not be smart of us if we were not to involve some of these key players in this decision,” Marks said Friday on WFAN, via the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “Kevin, Kyrie, we’re going to pick their brains on what they’re looking for in a leader, what they need. They’ve been brutally honest so far.”

Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson in early March, days before the NBA season went on hiatus. Jacque Vaughn has been installed as the team’s interim head coach and is being considered for the permanent gig.

The team consulting with Durant and Irving is no surprise. When you sign two big stars like Durant and Irving to your team, you’re going to build around them, and that includes getting a head coach that you hope works well them. Durant and Irving reportedly had some influence in the decision to get rid of Atkinson. As for Irving, he reportedly has made known his preference about who should get the job.

Kevin Durant responds to heckling fan with meme

Kevin Durant

Saturday marked the four-year anniversary of Kevin Durant choosing to sign with the Golden State Warriors in free agency. One heckling fan reminded him of that via Twitter with a profane message. The user called Durant some names and called him “weak”, then said “have a cupcake and bask in the glory of your easy road efforts.”

Durant responded with a meme.

It’s truly a wonder why Durant even bothers with trolls like that, but he does and has been doing so for a while. At least this time he didn’t respond from his burner.

Durant changed NBA history when he chose to sign with the Warriors. He left Oklahoma City even though the Thunder had the Warriors on the ropes in the playoffs the season before. Golden State immediately became one of the most dominant teams ever and won consecutive championships. They were competing for a third title until injuries derailed them, including Durant suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals.

Durant decided to leave the Warriors and signed with Brooklyn last year. He has not played a game for the Nets yet but is still under contract with them for at least two more seasons.