Marc J. Spears of ESPN was the first to report that the Dubs had interest in reuniting with Durant after news broke that the superstar had requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. He helped, and arguably led, the Warriors to three straight NBA Finals appearances between 2016-19, including back-to-back championships during the first two campaigns.
“It’s no surprise to me that Warriors have interest in Kevin Durant, according to sources,” Spears tweeted on Sunday, July 3. “So does more more than half the league. It’s KEVIN DURANT. You better make the call if you’re an NBA GM.”
But whether two-time MVP and four-time champion Steph Curry is interested in Durant’s return to Golden State may be another matter entirely. Curry has not spoken publicly on the possibility of playing with Durant again, but Fox Sports host Nick Wright of “First Things First” stated emphatically on Monday that “no one” wants Durant back in Golden State — Curry included.
“No, I do not want to see Kevin Durant back on the Warriors. No one wants this,” Wright said. “I don’t want this. Steph [Curry] doesn’t want this. I’d be shocked if Kevin Durant wants this. And I know Golden State fans don’t want this.”
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Warriors Stars in Discussions With Durant About Return, Per Report
Durant, for his part, did not name the Warriors as one of his desired trade destinations upon making the ask out of Brooklyn. He listed the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat as franchises to which he prefers to go, and the list stopped there.
Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reported that “the Warriors superstars” have spoken directly to Durant about a return, though he did not detail what was said or how hard any of those Dubs players were pushing Durant to come back to the Bay Area. Presumably, Thompson was referring to Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when he invoked the word “superstars.”
Green and Durant publicly and famously fell out on the sidelines during a spat amidst the 2019 regular season, which several insiders speculated was a factor in Durant’s decision to team up with Kyrie Irving and the Nets the following year.
Curry also took a backseat to Durant when the two played together, and caught some flak this postseason for having never won an NBA Finals MVP. That one blip on an otherwise impeccable resumé probably had more to do with Durant’s presence than anything else, as he won the honor both times the two claimed rings as teammates.
Curry set that right this time around, claiming the NBA Finals MVP in Golden State’s victory over the Boston Celtics. Still, it may not behoove Curry and his legacy to welcome Durant back into the fold.
Thompson did not mention the earlier rift between Green and Durant or any potential issues Curry might have with a reunion as part of his report, stating only that a return of the Nets’ forward to the Bay Area is “highly unlikely.”
“The Warriors superstars have been in conversations with Durant. In addition to catching up, the Hall of Fame-bound peers did entertain the idea of a reunion,” Thompson wrote on Sunday. “It was mostly about the stunning nature of it even being possible. The idea of them playing together again had to seem impossible when Durant left in free agency in 2019.”
Warriors Will Have to Mortgage Future, Young Talent to Land Durant
Getting the whole band back together, of course, is no longer impossible. However, it would cost the Warriors essentially all of their young talent and would severely impede their future success for the likelihood of another two or three titles in the immediate.
Thompson noted that Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathon Kuminga and Moses Moody would all have to be on the table to even open a discussion, not to mention a multitude of draft picks. Beyond that, first-time All Star Andrew Wiggins would also likely have to be included to make the money work.
Poole and Wiggins were crucial pieces to the Dubs’ playoff success this postseason, while Kuminga played a significant regular season role. Beyond that, Poole and Kuminga represent the future of the franchise along with Wiseman and Moody.
Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports said that while the Warriors represent the best place for Durant to go, he simply does not see that happening for a multitude of reasons.
“Of course, we all know the best place to go. [It’s] the best team where you’d win the most games. It’s Golden State — the champs,” Cowherd said Monday. “They won before him, they won with him, they won after him. And they have the most assets, easily. They could make a deal this morning. James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole — guard, wing, big. The Nets would be off and running and fun to watch.”
“[But] I don’t think he’ll go because he’s prickly, sensitive and he’d get pushback,” Cowherd continued. “Kevin Durant needs Golden State far more than Golden State needs Kevin Durant. He knows it and I don’t think he likes that. … I don’t think Kevin Durant has the stomach for the pushback.”