Back in the summer of 2019, Kevin Durant had a big-time decision to make.
The choices? Stay put with the Golden State Warriors and continue competing for NBA titles or take on a new challenge. Durant chose the latter, teaming up with Kyrie Irving and later James Harden to play for the Brooklyn Nets. As Durant would come to find out, life on the other side without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Co. isn’t so green.
Three years in Brooklyn amounted to one playoff series win. By the time the 2022 offseason began, Durant wanted out, formally requesting a trade on June 30. Since then, suitors such as the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat have come forward in discussions. But there’s one team — all too familiar with Durant — that is lurking in the sweepstakes.
No, it’s not the Oklahoma City Thunder, nor the Seattle Supersonics in an alternate universe. It’s the Warriors and Curry, who reportedly reached out to Durant.
“I was in Las Vegas last week for Summer League, and someone from KD’s camp told me that Steph Curry was among the stars around the league who had reached out to KD to find out exactly what he was thinking,” Ric Bucher of Fox Sports said on First Things First. “The point being made that Steph was not opposed to KD, in spite of the way things ended, to KD coming back to the Warriors.”
Bucher explained that despite how things ended three years ago, Curry’s focus is clear: he wants to continue winning championships. Re-acquiring Durant would give him and Golden State the best opportunity to do so.
“Steph’s focus is purely on winning a fifth ring. One of the motivations in winning a fifth ring is because it would give him one more than LeBron James,” Bucher said. “Steph hasn’t forgotten that four or five years ago, LeBron, Russell Westbrook and KD were among those that didn’t really invite him to be at the table, their lunch table, if you will.
“So there is a spirited rivalry there. And he would love to wind up with more rings, potentially, than LeBron.”
Do the Golden State Warriors have the Assets to Acquire Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets?
The first time around for Kevin Durant in the Bay Area was prosperous. The Warriors won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. They came up just short in 2019, bowing out in six games to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals. Durant tore his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 and missed the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign.
But unlike the summer of 2016, when Durant signed with the Warriors as a free agent, Golden State must now part ways with assets for his services. You could make the argument; however, the Warriors are the only team able to make the deal without blowing up their core.
With Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green seemingly off the table, the Warriors still have a foursome of players who could all be available. Those include Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga. But even then, there’s still hurdles to jump to make a deal happen.
“There’s a lot of hoops to jump through [to make a deal happen. But the point being made is, Steph is looking for, ‘what’s going to make me better? What’s going to make us better?’ There’s no concern about the way things ended,” Bucher said. “There’s no conflict with KD as far as Steph is concerned. He’s just looking for the best way possible to potentially win a fifth championship.”