In case you forgot, Kevin Durant is a Brooklyn Net, and on Friday, he sat down (in front of Nets’ logos) to discuss his new team, offering the smallest of hints that he might be back this season.
“I’m excited about this group,” Durant told Chris Henderson (SEEHENDO on YouTube). Obviously with me not starting off the season, being injured, you’re gonna see a lot of guys step up, do some things and go to another level as a player.”
Not to speculate too much, but Durant mentioned that he won’t be starting the season. He doesn’t say anything about being out all season recovering from an Achilles rupture. Then again, we won’t speculate too much just yet.
As for who he believes will step up while he’s out, KD ticked off a list...
“Caris [LeVert], Joe Harris, Taurean Prince. Even the older guys like Garrett Temple, Kyrie [Irving], DeAndre [Jordan]. I feel like everybody in this environment in going to step up, especially due to circumstances with me not being available. I think everybody’s going to step up and take it to the next level, we got great coaching, great front office, great fanbase that’s excited for something new. This is a fresh start for everybody I feel.”
Durant was particularly glowing in discussing Irving.
“We all see it. He’s one of those guys that you don’t even have to talk about. Just watch him play,” Durant said. “He’ll make you feel a certain way when you watch him. His movements. His mentality out there. His smarts for the game. His efficiency. He’s an all-around player.”
KD also admitted he’s excited about wearing the Nets’ “City” uniforms with their Biggie Smalls-inspired Coogi styling.
Biggie is always going to be the main influence around our team,” Durant said. “We’re driven by his influence, what he rapped about, living in Brooklyn, coming up from Brooklyn, the bottom. That’s how we play. We’re inspired by stuff like that. No matter if he’s in the jersey, his spirit is always going to be around the team.”
Well, Hello Brooklyn!
- Notice how KD mentioned LeVert first. We’ve often noted how LeVert and Durant have maintained a strong relationship for quite a while now, so much so that the two worked out privately in the past several years. Even before LeVert was drafted back in 2016, KD was encouraging him. When LeVert underwent Dr. Martin O’Malley’s knife that year, Durant told him, “Once Doc finishes with you, you’ll be like brand new.” LeVert is a big reason why he’s here.
- As for the others, he mentions Joe Harris, who is currently competing in the FIBA Games for Team USA. Of course, there’s Taurean Prince, another friend of Durant’s, who the Nets traded for in June. He also mentions a couple new Nets, including Garrett Temple, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. Irving and Jordan are also good friends of KD’s.
- His last line was telling. He praised the coaching staff and front office, both best known for their ability to maximize players’ potential, whether it be a two-way player coming up from the G-League or up-and-coming stars. Everything he mentioned about others stepping up during his absence ... it’s all part of Brooklyn’s “Next man up” identity.
- “This is a fresh start for everybody,” he said after talking up the Brooklyn Nets fanbase. Lack of attendance is something the Nets have gotten flack for. However, with two of the biggest superstars playing in Brooklyn, it’s safe to say that’s going to change.
It’s a quick one-minute clip right smack in the middle of a 45-minute candid conversation. We didn’t get a press conference, but we did get this!
Durant will be in Brooklyn sometime this month. Media Day and Training Camp are right around the corner.
Meanwhile, KD posted another update on his rehab Friday night on Instagram...
Clip on the Nets:
Candid convo between @KDTrey5 & @SeeHend0.— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) September 7, 2019
“You’re gonna see a lot of guys step up like Caris, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince. Even the older guys like Garrett Temple, Kyrie, DeAndre... We got great coaching, great front office, great fan base. This is a fresh start for everybody.” pic.twitter.com/l5vDuCXzM6
Watch the full video here:
Meanwhile, Forbes reported a footnote to Joe Tsai’s purchase of the Nets related to KD. Durant’s business partner Rich Kleiman told Forbes that Nike sells more KD shoes in China than in North America. The Durant Nike franchise grew double digits in 2019, according to Cowen & Co., a U.S. financial analyst.
- Kevin Durant gives Nets reason to hope for early return - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kevin Durant talks Nets teammates in first interview since signing in Brooklyn - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News