Kevin Durant has not played in a game yet for the Brooklyn Nets and will have to wait until next season to make his debut, but he is still planning to face the music when the team travels to Golden State this week to take on the Warriors.
Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters Durant will accompany the Nets for the remaining three games of their four-game road trip, which includes a stop in Golden State on Thursday night. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the Warriors were previously told Durant would not be making the trip.
Warriors were previously told he wouldn't be there. Plans appear to have changed. But it's unsure if fans will even be in the building. https://t.co/eCo2uoRAMw
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 11, 2020
Durant has yet to visit the Chase Center, as the arena opened this year and Thursday will be the first time Durant returns to the Bay Area since he left the Warriors in free agency last summer. As Slater noted, it’s not a certainty that fans will even have an opportunity to express their feelings toward Durant. The NBA is still considering playing games without fans due to the coronavirus outbreak, which we now know could cost a team like the Warriors a ton of money.
If there are fans at the Chase Center, we can expect a mix of boos and cheers for Durant. It’s hard to imagine fans showing hostility toward a player who won two NBA Finals MVP awards with the team, but some may not appreciate the way Durant has complained about the treatment he received from his former teammates.
Kevin Durant has not played in a game with the Brooklyn Nets and will wait until next season to debut with his new team, but the two-time NBA Finals MVP may have already played a major role in shaping the direction of the franchise.
The Nets announced on Saturday that they have mutually parted ways with Kenny Atkinson, but all indications have been that the coach was pushed out after failing to connect with his new star players. Kyrie Irving is said to have “soured” on Atkinson early on, and Durant was reportedly less than thrilled with the coach as well.
According to a new report from Shams Charania and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, Atkinson told his players and staff after last Wednesday’s 39-point blowout loss to the Memphis Grizzlies that it was time for everyone to air their grievances. A spirited team meeting followed, and Durant spoke up about the bad habits he has seen and told the Nets they were not showing the proper traits needed to become a title contender. As The Athletic described, Durant’s lecture may have been the “most critical thing” that happened in the meeting.
Like Irving, Durant reportedly never made a connection with Atkinson. You could argue that it would be difficult for him to do that without playing, but watching from a distance may have given Durant an even better understanding of how things were going. Apparently Durant didn’t like what he saw, and The Athletic reports that there was a “growing belief that (Durant and Irving) did not have interest in playing for (Atkinson) when this team is whole again next season.”
The Nets were doing well and had improved each year under Atkinson before Durant, Irving and DeAndre Jordan arrived. It’s obvious that the dynamic changed once the superstars established themselves, and Atkinson even seemed to acknowledge that.
Now, the Nets have the difficult task of trying to find a coach who can connect with some high-maintenance stars while also developing younger players. They seemed to understand that they were taking that risk when they signed Irving.
Thomas “Snacks” Lee has gone viral ever since draining a 3-pointer in Jackson State’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday night, and he’s been on the public interview tour like he won the Super Bowl.
Lee has conducted interviews with numerous local TV stations in Mississippi, been the subject of stories from us here at Larry Brown Sports, ESPN, The Athletic, and he was on TMZ Sports, Pardon My Take, and he’ll be featured on “TODAY.”
Lee is the student-manager of Jackson State’s men’s basketball team. He had been asking the coach for a chance to play, and he got into Monday night’s game late and nailed a 3-pointer, which made the fans go wild.
After scoring his first career points, Lee was named the conference’s player of the week.
BREAKING NEWS: @GoJSUTigers deep range shooter Thomas “Snacks” Lee (@BigHomie_Tom) has been named #SWACMBB Player of the Week. The Jackson, Miss. native leads the league in social media views and is a legitimate scoring threat from virtually anywhere on the court #SWACHoops pic.twitter.com/xmY02y9oKq
— Southwestern Athletic Conference (@theswac) March 4, 2020
Lee wore No. 35 in the game as an homage to his favorite player, Kevin Durant. He got a Twitter shoutout from Durant and is hoping to meet his favorite player.
During his interview on “Pardon My Take,” Lee expressed confidence that he would be able to serve Durant with a bucket or two in 1-on-1.
“I’m definitely scoring. I would actually like to make that happen. I think I could give him a run for his money,” Lee said/joked.
Durant needs to make this happen. Everyone on the internet would love to see the two of them together.
Here’s a video of Snacks’ story, including his viral shot:
Kevin Durant has opened up in recent months about why he left the Golden State Warriors to sign with the Brooklyn Nets last summer, but his former boss still does not understand the decision.
In an appearance on 95.7 The Game’s “Joe, Lo & Dibs” show this week, Warriors owner Joe Lacob said he was never angry about Durant deciding to leave Golden State, but the move baffled him.
Joe Lacob: “I can’t get mad when Kevin Durant, who I felt pretty close with, decides he’s going to leave…”
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) February 24, 2020
“I can’t get mad when Kevin Durant, who I felt pretty close with, decides he’s going to leave,” Lacob said. “Which, to me, made no sense. Like, you’re the best organization, I hope he thinks, in the world — winning, other great players, the new Arena. To me, there was every reason in the world to stay, but I’m not going to be mad at him because it’s his life. And he earned the right and for whatever reason he decided he wanted to leave.”
Lacob probably doesn’t want to acknowledge some of the reasons Durant chose to leave, but Durant has been pretty open about them. The feud he had with Draymond Green early last season definitely played a role, and Durant recently said he felt isolated from his teammates after that.
Durant has notoriously thin skin, and he obviously didn’t like how people said he sold out by signing with a championship team to get a ring. Once Green told him the Warriors don’t need him, he probably started packing his bags.
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.
KD moving around and getting shots up again
(via __devonte__/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/fERSUpF0rn
— ESPN (@espn) February 9, 2020
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 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 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.
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“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.