After being dethroned by the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors took another huge blow this summer after losing one of their best players, Kevin Durant, in the 2019 free agency. Despite strong efforts from the Warriors to convince him to stay, Durant still ended up leaving Golden State to team up with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan on the Brooklyn Nets.
In a recent appearance on The Full 48 podcast, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr discussed several topics and shared his insight regarding Kevin Durant’s departure from the Warriors. Kerr told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report that he was “not surprised” by Durant’s decision to leave Golden State. Compared to the first two years that they worked together, Kerr revealed that he felt something different with Durant in the 2018-19 NBA season.
Since Kevin Durant announced his decision in the 2019 NBA free agency, several NBA rumors surfaced regarding the possible reasons why he left Golden State. Some people believe that his altercation with Draymond Green during one of their games against the Los Angeles Clippers last season pushed Durant to part ways with the Warriors. Kerr strongly denied the notion, saying that the Durant-Green incident wasn’t a big deal. Kerr also shared an idea on why Durant chose to end his stint with the Warriors.
“For whatever reason, it just kind of ran its course,” Kerr said, as quoted by NBC Sports. “I don’t know why. I do think we’re in a different era where players are more interested by new challenges… players see that there’s a huge expanse out there; there’s this horizon with so many different opportunities. And so you’re just gonna have fewer teams that stick together for a long period of time. And that’s just kind of how it felt this year for us. This thing has a finite ending point and this is probably it.”
Sam Presti says he will "always be there" if Kevin Durant needed anything from him. pic.twitter.com/2ddoro9G52— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 26, 2019
After helping the Warriors build a dynasty, Kevin Durant is now taking the challenge to end the Nets’ decades-long title drought. With Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan on their roster, the Nets undeniably have a realistic chance of dominating the Eastern Conference and contending for the NBA championship. Unfortunately, Nets fans won’t see Durant on the court anytime soon as he’s expected to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season recovering from an injury.
Meanwhile, the departure of Kevin Durant has indeed affected the Warriors’ chances of reclaiming their throne. However, as long as they have the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors will remain a team to fear in the Western Conference. It’s also worth noting that the Warriors didn’t lose Durant without getting anything in return.
In a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets, the Warriors acquired All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant. Though they no longer have Durant, Warriors owner Joe Lacob is very confident that his team “legitimately have a shot” at the NBA championship next season.