As the Nets held their annual Media Day conference on Friday, they did so with a lot more star power than they’ve had in recent seasons. That would be because they added two of the top stars in the NBA in former champions Durant and Kyrie Irving.
As Durant held his first Media Day as a member of the Nets, he provided a short and brief answer for why he bolted the Golden State for Brooklyn, per Drew Shiller of Warriors Outsiders.
Durant was also asked about how seriously he considered signing somewhere other than the Nets, such as the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks or Warriors. His answer was nothing short of brutally honest, as he said he thought about it “for a couple seconds,” as SNY revealed.
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KD Had Nothing Left to Prove with Warriors
Durant spent three seasons in the Bay Area, helping lead the Warriors to two championships and three NBA Finals appearances. He won two Finals MVPs while also leading Golden State to the most dominant run in NBA postseason history when they went 16-1 during the 2017 playoffs.
Simply put, Durant had accomplished everything that he could possibly accomplish in Golden State. He won his first championship, prolonged Golden State’s dynasty run and made them the most dominant team in the new millennium.
What likely didn’t help matters was Durant suffering his torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. That effectively ended Durant’s season and will likely keep him sidelined for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
Durant wants a fresh start — and he’ll get one in Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving: I Will ‘Protect” Kevin Durant
Speaking of which, Irving also participated in the Media Day along with Durant and criticized the Warriors’ decision to play the former MVP in the Finals despite the fact he was less than 100 percent. The 27-year-old veteran stated that he will “protect” Durant in Brooklyn and won’t allow the team to play him if he’s not ready to return from injury, per Clutch Points.
Here is a transcript of Irving’s comments, in which he really drives home the point that the Warriors let Durant down and that he will do whatever it takes to ensure that Durant isn’t placed in a situation like that again.
“There isn’t going to be pressure from any of us at any time and I will make sure of that because I’ve been in that same situation of being the guy that’s injured on the team and everyone looking like, “Are you going to come back anytime soon?”
If you come back, then this is going to be our championship-caliber team. If you were playing, this would happen. Naturally, I think you have to go inside the mind of a competitor and realize that a lot of people have responsibilities for why that ended up happened on a national scale.
We all know K was not ready to play in that environment. We all know that. Whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage on the Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person Kevin.
Now, I’m here to protect that. I’m going to be the protector of that all throughout the year and not allowing anyone to infiltrate that circle of, “Hey K, do you. Get right. We’ll be fine. We have expectations of our team.”
It’s worth mentioning that not long after Irving’s “protector” comments, Durant also stressed that he will not return during the 2019-20 season.
The Nets may not feature the Irving-Durant pairing until the 2020-21 season, but once they do, all eyes will be on Brooklyn.
We’ll see if they can reach those expectations once they take the court together.