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Monday, February 24, 2020

Kevin Durant

Video: Kevin Durant looks like he’s making huge progress in Achilles rehab

Kevin Durant

It has been less than eight months since Kevin Durant underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles, but it appears he is making excellent progress with his rehab.

There have been some videos posted on social media recently that show Durant running and putting shots up, and the latest should be extremely encouraging for Brooklyn Nets fans. Durant was running around the court, making light cuts and putting up shots with ease.

Most athletes take a full year to completely recover from an Achilles tear, and the Nets intend to give Durant more than that. They have already said he will not play at all this season, though you have to wonder if he will be healthy enough to suit up before the year ends.

Despite their 23-28 record, the Nets entered Sunday as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Kyrie Irving has battled some injuries of his own this year, and we know he is not thrilled with Brooklyn’s roster. If doctors declare Durant 100 percent healthy and the Nets remain in the playoff hunt, you have to wonder if the team will be tempted at all to bring him back.

Kevin Durant shares why he left Thunder for Warriors

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has shared his reason for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

Durant was a guest on the recent episode of Showtime Basketball show “All the Smoke” featuring Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. One of the subjects that came up was Durant controversially leaving OKC for Golden State.

Durant said he left to go play with a more talented team with guys who passed the ball more and had better shooters.

“In OKC I played with a lot of athletes, I didn’t play with a lot of skilled guys, not like shooters, ball handlers. So after a while, my game started to grow, I was like ‘I need a change’. This was before the season even started. I was like I’m going to play out my season as hard as I can. I’m not telling anyone I want to leave, I’m not packing in — I’m trying to win as much as we can. That was my thinking going into the year.

“I was tired of playing in that system. I was tired of having to be the only guy that can make threes, make jumpshots — consistently make them.”

Yes, Durant wanted more help. But he went to a team where he had too much help, and that’s what bothered people.

Also, Durant’s Thunder were up 3-1 on those Warriors in the playoffs. Durant admits he knew entering the season that he wanted to join the Warriors in free agency. Maybe if he weren’t thinking like that and was hellbent on winning a championship in OKC, he would have won one that season.

Though these comments seemed new to many, we actually knew this about Durant because his burner told us three years ago.

Kevin Durant admits he started ‘isolating’ himself after Draymond Green feud

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has admitted that his highly publicized feud with Draymond Green was a factor in his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors in free agency, and the injured Brooklyn Nets star opened up about that situation more this week.

Durant was a guest on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, and he spoke a lot about his time in Golden State and why it came to an end. Durant admitted that he was taken aback by Green’s reaction after K.D. expressed frustration with Green for not passing him the ball near the end of an eventual overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

Beware that the clip contains some inappropriate language.

“Then he started coming off the top with all of that stuff and I’m just thinking, Draymond is actually my friend,” Durant said. “He’s somebody I can call when I’m going through anything like, ‘Yo, come through. Let’s hang out tonight.’ For him to say that s— to me just kind of threw me for a loop. I started isolating myself after that.”

Durant was referring to Green telling him the Warriors don’t need him and won before K.D. arrived in Golden State. Durant said he took that personally since he considered Green a friend, and the Warriors chose to sweep it under the rug rather than hash things out and move forward.

“Me and him sat down and talked about it,” Durant said. “I gave him my piece and he told me how he felt about it, but it happened in front of the whole team. Everybody saw it.”

Ironically, Green is the same guy who called K.D. to deliver the opposite message after Golden State lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. Green played a huge role in recruiting Durant to the Warriors, which is why Durant felt so betrayed when Green treated him like an outsider.

Of course, Durant also has notoriously thin skin. He’s been known to defend himself on social media and even admitted to creating a burner account to do so, so it’s no surprise he took Green’s remarks so personally.

Video: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant share big hug after game

Kevin Durant Steph Curry

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant still have plenty of love for each other.

The Brooklyn Nets beat the Golden State Warriors 129-88 on Wednesday night. Even though neither player was playing in the game due to their recovery from injuries, they still were in attendance and shared a big hug after the game.

Why wouldn’t they share a warm embrace? They made the NBA Finals in all three seasons they were teammates and won two championships. Even though Durant was the Finals MVP in both championships, Curry never seemed to be jealous and was happy winning.

Curry did have an issue with the timing of Durant’s announcement that he would be signing with the Nets in free agency, but he seems to be over it now — for good reason.

Curry has been out since suffering a hand injury in October, while Durant has not played at all this season as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon.

Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death

Kendrick Perkins

The death of Kobe Bryant has served as a reminder to many to live life to the fullest and not waste time. That certainly appeared to be the message Kendrick Perkins took away from the death of Kobe on Sunday.

Perkins, who played in the NBA from 2003-2018, tweeted that he was “speechless” upon learning the news of Bryant’s death.

In his next tweet, Perkins sought to make up with his former teammate, Kevin Durant. Perkins extended an olive branch to Durant and asked for forgiveness.

Perkins then shared how he was drawing inspiration from Kobe to live a better life.

Just two weeks ago, Perkins and Durant engaged in a heated Twitter beef in which Perkins said Durant took the coward’s way out by joining the Golden State Warriors. Perkins got a lot of retweets, likes, and headlines for his statements, but he likely damaged his relationship with Durant, with whom he was teammates on the Thunder from 2011-2015.

We don’t know whether Durant responded, but that is a nice first step from Perkins, and a valuable takeaway for many of us to heed: life is precious, and we should strive to repair broken relationships.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims

Tributes to Kobe:
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

Don’t miss any news
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Join our Facebook group
– Download the Larry Brown Sports app on your iOS device
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Steven Adams has hilarious reaction to Durant-Perkins Twitter beef

Steven Adams

Steven Adams is not about to get caught up in the back-and-forth between two of his former teammates.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, the Oklahoma City Thunder center had a funny reaction to the Twitter feud between Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins, saying that they were probably just bored.

“Ah you know how it is, mate,” said Adams, per Erik Horne of The Athletic. “They’re both a bit bored, aye? They’re not doing much so they’re probably just bored, mate. But it’s entertaining for you guys I bet, yeah?! You guys getting a little kick out of it?

“I wouldn’t say [it’s] interesting,” Adams went on. “It’s just some bickering. What’s interesting is the political stuff. American politics. That’s interesting. Not just two players bickering. C’mon.”

Adams arrived in Oklahoma City as a rookie in 2013 with both Durant and Perkins already on the team. Perkins was then traded away in 2015 and Durant left to sign with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, which was a central topic of their social media beef this week.

The 35-year-old Perkins is now retired and working as an analyst, while the former MVP Durant is still out with his Achilles injury. Thus, Adams has a point, even if he has aired out some beef with an ex-Thunder teammate too.

Kendrick Perkins addresses intense Twitter beef with Kevin Durant

Kendrick Perkins

Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins got into a Twitter beef on Thursday night that turned quite personal, and Perkins seems surprised that his former teammate cares about the things he said enough to engage him in a social media feud.

The back and forth began when Perkins teased his appearance on “SportsCenter” and said he was going to talk about why Russell Westbrook — not Durant — is the best player in Oklahoma City Thunder history. A member of the media then called Perk out for the take, and Durant eventually chimed in by pointing out the small role Perkins played in the postseason with OKC.

During an appearance on RADIO.com Sports’ “Scal and Pals” show Friday morning, Perkins clarified that he was saying Westbrook is “Mr. Thunder” rather than a better player than Durant, as Durant bailed on OKC to sign with the Golden State Warriors. He also wondered why KD still feels the need to defend the move.

“That was my whole point – why do you even care? First of all, you left that organization for dead,” Perkins said. “You thought when you left that organization that it would go to nothing. And Russell Westbrook kept that organization afloat … he never missed the playoffs … he always kept them in the middle of the hunt … he did what he was supposed to do … he won the MVP … he did all types of things.

“So, like I said, my whole argument wasn’t to shoot a slug at KD, my whole argument was to rightfully praise Russell Westbrook for what he deserves.”

Not surprisingly, the comment that seemed to bother Durant the most on Thursday was when Perkins called him signing with the Warriors the “weakest move in NBA history.” Perkins stood behind that take on Friday.

“I don’t have a filter,” he said. “So what I do, is I strike back. Boy, stop playing with me. You did the weakest move in NBA history, up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals and then you go join them the following season.”

That is the type of remark that still gets under Durant’s skin, even after he won two NBA titles with Golden State. You can read the rest of his exchange with Perkins here.

No matter how many people criticize him for it, Durant simply cannot resist firing back at those who question the way he left the Thunder. He cares deeply about the public’s perception of him, and that is not going to change.