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Monday, May 25, 2020

Articles tagged: Kevin Durant

Report: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving have favorable opinions of Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau is going to be a hot name on the head coaching market whenever the NBA offseason begins, and the Brooklyn Nets are among the teams that are said to have interest in him. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will almost certainly have some say in the Nets’ hiring process, which could be good news for Thibodeau if he wants the job.

Both Durant and Irving like and respect Thibodeau, sources told Marc Berman of the New York Post. The two superstars worked with Thibodeau when he was an assistant coach with Team USA, and they are said to have favorable opinions of him from the time they spent together.

The Nets, as well as the Houston Rockets, have “strong interest” in Thibodeau, according to Berman. Brooklyn fired head coach Kenny Atkinson earlier this season, and there have been reports that Irving helped push him out the door.

At the very least, it sounds like Thibodeau is going to get a number of interviews for head coaching jobs heading into next season. He has not coached since being fired by the Minnesota Timberwolves in January of 2019, but he holds a career record of 352-246 (.589) with six playoff appearances in eight seasons. The New York Knicks are also said to have interest, and Thibodeau has a relationship with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose from when Rose was an agent with Creative Artists agency.

Irving supposedly has a specific head coach in mind for the Nets, but he’s not going to make the final hiring decision. Thibodeau may end up having his pick of two or three jobs if all goes well for him.

Jay Williams does not think Kevin Durant returning this season is good idea

Kevin Durant

With the NBA season having been postponed, the Brooklyn Nets have not formally ruled out the possibility of Kevin Durant playing this season. Jay Williams thinks they should.

Williams, who hosts ESPN’s “The Boardroom” with Durant, told Marc Berman of the New York Post on Monday that he does not feel it would be wise for Durant to go from not playing the entire season while recovering from a torn Achilles to being thrown into a highly competitive atmosphere.

“I think everybody’s antsy,” Williams said. “As it relates to Kevin, it depends on the timetable of those games and how condensed it is. It’s one thing to come back and start the beginning of next season where there’s time and space between games and [you can] keep your body ramped up the right way. But someone coming back off an injury and go right into a playoff scenario, I don’t think it’s feasible or fair on Kevin himself. But Kevin is his own man. He’ll do what he wants to do.”

The NBA has yet to lay out a plan for the resumption of play, but there has been talk that there could be a three-week training camp period before finishing the season. There is still another month’s worth of games remaining in the regular season, but the NBA could opt to condense that and jump into the playoffs sooner. While Williams said Durant has been working out and is feeling great, he questions if playing this season would be worth the risk.

“It’s about how long will they train? How long will he play five-on-five with physical contact?” Williams said. “There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. Someone can have great individual workouts and pickup games but until you play in full live-game situation with teammates, I don’t know the answer.”

The Nets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but Kyrie Irving is not expected to play again this season because of a shoulder injury. Although Nets GM Sean Marks recently changed his tune a bit when discussing Durant, it still seems highly unlikely that the two-time NBA Finals MVP will play this season.

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.