When the complete NBA schedule was released earlier in August, it revealed that the new-look Phoenix Suns would take on the equally talented Golden State Warriors on opening night. There should be significant buzz surrounding the matchup for a myriad of reasons.
Fans will get a first look at the Suns’ star-studded trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. In addition, it will be Durant’s first appearance in the Chase Center since departing for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. Warriors’ new general manager Mike Dunleavy says that the franchise plans to “honor” the two-time NBA Finals MVP in his return.
“I think the combo of him returning and us opening against a formidable opponent should make the building pretty electric,” the new Warriors general manager said during an appearance on 95.7 The Game.
“We got to figure out a way to appropriately honor Kevin [Durant]. He has not played in Chase Center since departing. I know it has been a while, but anytime great players like that who have given up so much to the franchise come back, you have to figure out a way to honor them. We’ll do that appropriately.”
Patrick Beverley Sounds off on Devin Booker
Earlier in August, Warriors guard Klay Thompson was a guest on Clippers small forward Paul George’s podcast, “Podcast P” Presented by Wave Sports & Entertainment. During the appearance, the Warriors star took accountability for an altercation he had with Suns’ star shooting guard Devin Booker last season.
Booker showed appreciation for Thompson’s words. But the fact that the altercation was brought up by George was to the chagrin of the Suns’ guard and led to a war of words between the two stars on Twitter. Philadelphia 76ers guard Patrick Beverley, who was George’s teammate on the Clippers, chimed in on the beef between the two All-Star shooting guards.
“Book can hoop…can do everything, and he looks good doing it. He likes to go left, and he looks good, that s*** looks good. He is doing it in Kobe’s. He looks good. And PG is PG but he veteran PG. Obviously, there’s gonna be some love-hate there. I like it though, it is good for basketball,” Beverley said.
“It was just classic basketball talk, “Soft m***********…bum a** m***********!” Two All-Stars calling each other bums”
Steph Curry vs. Kevin Durant Revisited
The Warriors and Suns clash on opening night has some added value to it. It will be the first time Durant and Curry have shared the floor as opponents since Curry became a four-time NBA champion.
Despite winning a title before Durant arrived in Golden State, many questioned if Curry needed Durant to be successful. After all, KD did win Finals MVP both times he and Curry won the title as teammates. Curry was able to silence that narrative when he won his first title in the post-Durant era in 2022 and the first NBA Finals MVP award of his career.
Now, the pressure has shifted back toward Durant. After another failed super team experiment in Brooklyn, KD got traded to another star-studded team, the Phoenix Suns, at the trade deadline. However, they were beaten convincingly by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. Now that the franchise has added another All-Star in Beal, the pressure is on Durant and the Suns to deliver.