Kevin Durant finally spoke up about the vigorous conversation surrounding his impending free agency and the possibility that he might end up with the New York Knicks, taking dead aim at the way in which the media has covered what would be one of the biggest NBA stories of the year.
“I have nothing to do with the Knicks,” the Golden State Warriors star told reporters Wednesday night in his first comments since the Knicks set this off by clearing cap space with the trade of Kristaps Porzingis last week. “I don’t know who traded Porzingis. They got nothing to do with me. I’m trying to play basketball. Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches. You rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That’s all I’m saying. And now, when I don’t wanna talk to y’all, it’s a problem with me.
“Come on, man. Grow up. Grow up. Yeah, you — grow up. Come on, bro. I come here and go to work every day. I don’t cause no problems. I play the right way, or I try to play the right way. I try to be the best player I can be every possession. What’s the problem? What am I doing to y’all?”
He specifically targeted The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss, who had written that Durant “demonstrated an impressive burst of speed” Tuesday when he fled the Warriors’ practice court and a group of reporters as public relations officials “beseeched him to turn back.”
“You got a dude, Ethan Strauss, who comes in here and just gives his whole opinion on stuff and makes it seem like it’s coming from me,” Durant said. “And he just walks around here, don’t talk to nobody, just walk in here and survey and write something like that, and now you gotta pile on me because I don’t wanna talk to y’all about that.”
During his roughly 3½-minute news conference Wednesday, Durant said that “I didn’t feel like talking the last couple days. I just ain’t feel like it.”
Stephen Curry told reporters that it was “about him not being able to control his own voice. What he can’t control is BS that happens in the media or people making the decision for him or all this other stuff.”
Durant could control a self-imposed silence, which lasted nine days. He was asked whether that had to do with his impending free agency. “That’s the conversation you gonna have,” Durant said. “I don’t think about that type of stuff. That’s your job.”
He probably won’t like how Mercury News columnist Dieter Kurtenbach reacted to the news conference, writing that Durant is no victim and that, “for him to complain about other people talking for him when wasn’t using his voice is laughable.”
“If Durant didn’t like the narrative that was surrounding him, he could have squashed it with ease last week. The Warriors are perhaps the most covered team in the NBA — if Durant wanted to relay a message about the Knicks or free agency or the media, there were a dozen easy opportunities and countless of reporters willing to do that for him, free of charge. All he had to do was ask — dictaphones, iPhones, and satellite trucks were on the ready. And if Durant wanted to cut out the middle man, he could have sent out a message to his 17.4 million Twitter followers.”
Meanwhile, he is keeping reporters busy. “Most people within the Warriors either think Durant is leaving or profess not to know one way or the other,” Strauss had written, echoing the Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, who quoted an unnamed NBA executive who said the Knicks’ trade “means they’re pretty sure they’re getting KD.” The Knicks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, are “a real possibility” along with the Clippers after their Tobias Harris trade on Tuesday.
Add to that Durant’s spat with Draymond Green, who was suspended last fall for, as Yahoo put it, conduct detrimental to Durant’s future with the team. He reportedly called Durant a “b----” and said, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.” That history made it logical to pursue sources about Durant’s state of mind, no matter how frustrating he finds it.
So, did Durant’s outburst Wednesday night help put to rest speculation about his future with the Warriors? Not really. As Kurtenbach pointed out, the one-year contract he signed last summer was a prime example of an athlete seizing empowerment. Good for him, but with empowerment comes uncertainty. If he thinks coverage is extensive now, wait until June.
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