We all know that two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant’s transition from the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets did not come without controversy. It all started with a November road game against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018. Warriors forward Draymond Green got a defensive rebound with the game tied in the final seconds and the Warriors had a chance to win the game.
Durant had won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award twice and established himself as the Warriors’ best player. So, being that it was crunch time KD called for the ball from Draymond. Green looked off KD and took the ball to the other end and turned it over, causing him and KD to have a very visible exchange in the Warriors huddle.
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Durant Being Upset With Curry, Warriors Help Land Him in Brooklyn
In November of 2018, Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that during the exchange Green told Durant that he could leave in free agency if he wanted to because the Warriors had already won a title without him. The reason for Green’s outburst was because he was upset at Durant’s failure to address his expiring contract with Golden State. A recent excerpt from author Matt Sutton’s new book Can’t Knock the Hustle details that it is a situation that eventually landed Durant in Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving.
“KD told a confidant that he didn’t think the Warriors would get any better if Steve Kerr couldn’t hold Draymond Green accountable for his outbursts and that he was occasionally irked when Steph got so much attention from the media and from the fans,” Sutton writes per Fox Sports. “Kyrie and KD, on the cusp of their free agency, shared a loner’s longing to settle down but look straight ahead.”
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Andre Iguodala Supported Whatever Decision KD Made
Sutton also writes that KD’s former Warrior teammate, Andre Iguodala, who had won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award when the team won the title in 2015 advised him to do whatever it was that he wanted. After leading the team to back-to-back championships following an epic collapse in the 2016 NBA Finals Iguodala felt like Durant owed the Warriors nothing.
“At this point, f— everybody,” Iguodala told him per Fox Sports. “That’s including management, anybody — from this team to that team, fans, whoever. Do whatever makes you happy, man, and don’t feel like you’re letting anybody down with any decision that you make.”
Knicks Front Office Tampered With Durant’s Free Agency
Despite suffering a torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, Durant was the hottest free agent on the market in 2019 and every team was knocking on his door to offer him a max contract. One of those teams was the New York Knicks one of the richest franchises in sports. The Knicks who at that point had not made the playoffs in six years were willing to do whatever it took to get Durant to Madison Square Garden. Including tampering, which upset Durant.
“KD’s occasionally estranged father, Wayne Pratt, was a Knicks fan. When Wayne told his son that he’d taken a video-conference call from the Knicks executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry and that the Knicks were trying to turn away KD’s interest from Brooklyn before free agency had officially begun, the father-son text chain blew up with expletives,” Sutton writes per Fox Sports.
“KD didn’t think it was on anyone else to mess with his personal freedom. Plus, this Knicks meeting seemed to be a violation of the NBA’s rules against tampering, to “entice, induce or persuade” one player under contract to sign somewhere else.”
The Nets are now one win away from advancing to their first conference finals since 2003 and have a legit shot to win the NBA title this year. With KD leading the charge, it may be safe to say that he made the right decision signing with the Nets.